What do Lavatories, sex and religion all have in common? According to philosopher Dr Rebecca Roache, they are the three topics that all our swear words are drawn from.
She says that the way in which we communicate our anger and frustration is to use these words as a cathartic replacement of the emotions we are feeling at the time. It’s certainly understandable that the way a swear word feels is often used as a vent for another feeling- there have even been studies to show that those who swear find their pain alleviated at the time of doing so. Language students may wish to look into the link between culture and swear words, those who speak more than one language tend to find that swearing in their first language is more satisfying.
History students may wish to notice how language develops over time depending on circumstance. Exclamations such as “Jesus Christ” have arguably lost their impact over time as cultivated by an increased turn to secularism in the UK; Theology students may want to connect how they understand blasphemy to be increasingly irrelevant in twenty first century British culture.
English applicants can also look at how words are communicated in modern media. There are some outlets that choose different ways of expressing the words which we deem to be offensive. Many are of the opinion that it makes no difference to being offended based on the use of asterisks, but big broadsheets like the Times still choose that option. Swearing is almost entirely defined by the culture in which it is used; HSPS and Anthropology applicants can think about how swearing can impact a society.