Swearing is neither big nor clever. Good, let's just get that out of the way. But sometimes it is funny... and inventive... and great to study in English Language. Sometimes - like outside the gates of a primary school and in front of lots of impressionable young kids - it's not a great idea to swear loudly and talk about how you're going to "land one on the f*cking bitch". That doesn't stop one mum at my sons' primary school though...
A piece in today's Guardian reports on guide books for foreign tourists which are now warning them about having their delicate sensibilities offended by the natives of London's swearing habits. Or, as the Lonely Planet website rather more eloquently puts it "London's contrasts and cacophonies both infuriate and seduce".
Read it here. But are we getting worse? Is swearing more common place than it used to be? Do we accept it more these days? And do we react to swearing more negatively when it comes from women rather than men? All valid and fascinating topics for a bit of further investigation...
Some links from a bit of googling throw up the following pieces of research that have already been done:
male/female talk in Nigerian students
differences in male female language styles used in online communication
Advertising Standards Authority survey of swearing from 2000
EA4C - Language Investigation
ENA3 - Male/female conversation