Mind your lan­guage

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - TAY­LOR AUER­BACH FRY’S PLANET WORD, ABC1, tonight, 9.30pm

STEPHEN Fry talk­ing about the English lan­guage is like Rafael Nadal play­ing ten­nis – a man do­ing what he loves and do­ing it bril­liantly.

This episode looks at the ways lan­guage is used and abused.

While not ev­ery­one ap­proves of ‘‘ bad’’ lan­guage, Fry ( pic­tured) learns swear­ing plays an im­por­tant part in hu­man com­mu­ni­ca­tion all over the world.

He un­der­goes an MRI scan and dis­cov­ers the parts of the brain as­so­ci­ated with swear­ing and meets a Tourette’s suf­ferer and a stroke pa­tient who swear they can’t help us­ing the F- word.

Fry and fel­low English ac­tor Brian Blessed par­tic­i­pate in some rather colour­ful ex­per­i­ments to ex­am­ine how swear­ing can help re­lieve pain. Fry also dis­cusses the pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive power of ‘‘ bad’’ words in hu­mour and so­cial in­ter­ac­tions.

He also meets nurses, sailors, teenagers and rap­pers to dis­cover how slang and jar­gon can both aid and thwart clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion but add to the rich­ness and tex­ture of lan­guage.

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