Some observations on the phonaesthetics of tits, cunts, cocks, and spunk

Following on my initial observations on the phonology of cusswords, and connecting to Iva’s recent post on cooters and hooters, I’d like to spend some time looking at some phonaesthetic clusters in words relating to private parts and emissions. Continue reading

Limmy’s swear-off

Scottish comedian Limmy has some fun with action film clichés in this short (NSFW) sketch from his superb Limmy’s Show. It mixes familiar ideas, like the escalation of insults, with completely unexpected turns like, well, you’ll see. Let’s just say it gives the phrase bad language a new meaning. Transcript follows below the fold.

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Sweary links #2

A smorgasbord of sweary bits for your weekend degustation:

All ADJ and shit

“As far as I can see, ‘all proper and shit’ is a syntactically, semantically, and pragmatically compositional combination of two constructions that have existed in English for hundreds of years.” Language Log’s Mark Liberman considers a shitty idiom.

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The curse of coprolalia

Quick—what’s the most offensive thing you could say right now?

Whether it’s shit-gargling cunt, faggot cumtits, or something equally inappropriate, your brain’s basal ganglia helped you figure it out almost instantly. And if you didn’t blurt out what you were thinking, you can thank your prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in impulse control. For people with coprolalia, though, something in that neural circuitry has gone awry, and they can’t help letting loose with profane outbursts.

Coprolalia—from the Greek kopros meaning “feces” and lalein meaning “to talk”—is usually associated with Tourette syndrome [1], although it appears in only 10 to 20 percent of Tourette cases. It has also been documented in people with brain injuries from stroke, encephalitis, and cerebral malaria.

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