I remember in junior school, Mrs Nancarrow’s class, I was aged 10 or thereabouts, that I got told off for using some silly expletive and she saying that swearing was a sign of a poor vocabulary. I posited at the time that I actually knew all the proper words and the swear words so didn’t that mean I had a bigger vocabulary than those who didn’t swear? Needless to say that didn’t go down to well, although I’ve actually blocked the subsequent caning from my memory or she took my point…
Now, at last, I am vindicated by science! My saviour. In a paper entitled “Taboo word fluency and knowledge of slurs and general pejoratives: deconstructing the poverty-of-vocabulary myth“, Kristin L. Jay and Timothy B. Jay prove my point. “Taboo word fluency is correlated with general fluency,” they found.
So, you know what you can do now Mrs Nancarrow? Huh? Huh? Well, you can go and…and…have a jolly nice day.
Thanks to Richard Stephens for highlighting this paper in BPS Research Digest.