ONE IN THIRTEEN WORDS ON TWITTER CONTAIN FOUL LANGUAGE – I can tell you that it’s bloody, oops I mean extremely difficult not to use foul language when constructing an article that conjures up feelings of passion, anger and contempt.
I think it was Billy Connelly, the Scottish comedian, who once said there is no such thing as bad language, just a bad use of it.
I’m no angel and yes there have been times I’ve used foul language in my articles in order to fully express my contempt but these are few and far between and when faced with such a predicament of using foul language I have learned to stop typing¸ get up, take a breather and reconsider my use of words.
OK, I used the word ‘bloody’ in the first paragraph to make a point of just how easy it is to slip in the odd piece of foul language but the use of four letter words, such as f***, is not something I would readily use; one because it’s widely unacceptable and secondly because there are other ways in which to express my thoughts.
Of course such a word is acceptable in certain circumstance, for instance educational purposes… yes I recently read a very interesting article on the origins of the word f*** and obviously the word was used in various ways and spellings to denote its use throughout the ages prolifically.
According to new research we are more likely to use foul language on our social networks than we are in the real world.
A research team at the Wright State University undertook an impressive study of some 51 million English language tweets and discovered that one in thirteen of them contained foul language or a direct curse; such as using the word ‘retard’.
The word f*** was undoubtedly the most popular and from the top seven swear words listed these featured in 90% of what people deem offensive tweets.
Why do we so readily use foul language on the social networks and why are we seeing a growing use of them in online articles? The answer lies within our ability to remain anonymous and therefore free of personal ridicule from our peers.
There are also some that use abusive or threatening words simply to cause offense with the remit of getting others suitably irate and therefore likely to engage in sharing such content; this in turn gains the author notoriety; albeit it anonymous.
Using foul language isn’t uncommon, we hear it being spoken all the time on the streets and there doesn’t appear to be a television programme or movie where such isn’t used.
According to the researchers some 0.5% to 0.7% of all the words we speak are words we considered offensive.
The English language is certainly complex and diverse and there are English language advocates that feel the use of foul language only portrays a person’s ignorance as the plethora of elaborate words that could be used; all of which are far more provocative.
Yes we might not consider the word ‘fornicate’ over ‘f***’ to be that expressive but certainly it is far more elaborate and one that English language advocates state only goes to further their belief that the average person simply doesn’t have the intellectual capacity, or knowledge, to use.
Of course the argument here could go the other way with those using four letter words stating that the English language advocates are merely snobs from a bygone era and in the modern world we need to communicate effectively and quickly without all the flowery rhetoric.
I certainly won’t attest to being a literary expert, far from it, for I know as someone who failed miserably in English literature that my articles are full of grammatical holes but that shouldn’t, and doesn’t, prevent me from expressing an opinion and one that doesn’t have to include a string of expletives in order to get my point across.
I do try to learn more each day and extend the use of my vocabulary; I am a real fan of the likes of Stephen Fry, Peter Hitchens and Christopher Hitchens; all of whom are wonderful writers and exceptional orators and none of these people feel the need to use foul language in order to get their point across.
Is the use of foul language testament of our ignorance of the English language or do we live in an era where it is simply easier for the masses to comprehend without having to process complicated vocabulary in order to save time?
For me I’ll stick to what I do and in the pursuit of enlightening my readers to my particular point of view refrain from using foul language unless it is within context and necessary to the article.
For more information on the research conducted see… Daily Mail