If you swear a lot then you might have built a reputation already. But don’t let that deter you from this glorious form of speech. A new study has found that people who curse frequently have a richer vocabulary than their more polite counterparts.
The study, as reported by Science Alert was carried out by psychologists Kristin Jay and Timothy Jay of Marist College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. They have come up with a “hypothesis that people who are well-versed in curse words are more likely to have greater overall language fluency too”.
These two psychologists gathered 43 participants and asked them to come up with as many swear words as they could in 60 minutes. They followed it up by asking the same participants to name as many animals in the same amount of time. The name of the animals were used as indication of their rich vocabulary. Along with this, the participants also submitted a standardised verbal fluency test.
In the second experiment, Jay and Jay gathered another 43 participants and asked them to jot down as many curse words as they could come up with that started with the letter ‘a’. They then completed another verbal fluency test to complete the test.
“That is, a voluminous taboo lexicon may better be considered an indicator of healthy verbal abilities rather than a cover for their deficiencies. Speakers who use taboo words understand their general expressive content as well as nuanced distinctions that must be drawn to use slurs appropriately. The ability to make nuanced distinctions indicates the presence of more rather than less linguistic knowledge, as implied by the POV [Poverty of Vocabulary] view” the research concluded.