Is swea­ring a sign of in­tel­li­gen­ce?

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

USA - You might ha­ve been told swea­ring shows a lack of in­tel­li­gen­ce or a li­mi­ted vo­ca­bu­la­ry.

But ex­perts ha­ve re­ve­a­led this is not the ca­se, and the use of pro­fa­ni­ty can in fact be a sign of a smart per­son.

Stu­dies ha­ve shown tho­se with foul mouths are mo­re ar­ti­cu­la­te and ha­ve a lar­ger vo­ca­bu­la­ry than their peers. Ben­ja­min Ber­gen, Pro­fes­sor of cog­ni­ti­ve sci­en­ces at UC San Diego, says we ha­ve ma­ny mis­con­cep­ti­ons about using foul lan­gu­a­ge. Pro­fes­sor Ber­gen is au­thor of a book cal­l­ed ‘What the F: What Swea­ring Re­veals About Our Lan­gu­a­ge, Our Brains, and Our­sel­ves.’ ‘It turns out that the­re are ama­zing things you can find out about how the mind works, how the brain works, pe­o­p­le’s hu­man so­ci­a­li­ty just by loo­king at pro­fa­ni­ty,’ he told CBS. Swea­ring could be lin­ked to hig­her in­tel­li­gen­ce and a big­ger vo­ca­bu­la­ry. Re­search in 2014 re­ve­a­led pe­o­p­le who fre­quent­ly swear are mo­re li­ke­ly to ha­ve a big­ger vo­ca­bu­la­ry than their clean-ton­gued peers. A co­lour­ful ton­gue does not mean the tal­ker is la­zy or un­edu­ca­ted, the stu­dy pu­blis­hed in the Lan­gu­a­ge Sci­en­ces jour­nal found. Instead, tho­se who are mo­re con­fi­dent using ta­boo words are mo­re ar­ti­cu­la­te in other are­as. The ex­pe­ri­ment as­ked par­ti­ci­pants to say as ma­ny swear words as they could think of in 60 se­conds. They we­re then as­ked to do the sa­me with ani­mals. Tho­se who knew the most swear words we­re mo­re li­ke­ly to na­me the most ani­mals as well, the re­search found. Kris­tin and Ti­mo­thy Jay, the US-ba­sed psy­cho­lo­gists who co-wro­te the stu­dy, said it pro­ved swea­ring was po­si­ti­ve­ly cor­re­la­ted with ver­bal flu­en­cy. They ad­ded that tho­se who used ta­boo words we­re ab­le to ma­ke nu­an­ced dis­tinc­ti­ons and could use lan­gu­a­ge ex­pres­si­ve­ly. ‘We can­not help but ju­d­ge others on the ba­sis of their speech,’ they wro­te. ‘Un­for­tu­na­te­ly, when it co­mes to ta­boo lan­gu­a­ge, it is a com­mon as­sump­ti­on that pe­o­p­le who swear fre­quent­ly are la­zy, do not ha­ve an ade­qua­te vo­ca­bu­la­ry, lack edu­ca­ti­on, or sim­ply can­not con­trol them­sel­ves.’ In their con­clu­si­on, they ad­ded: ‘The over­all fin­ding of this set of stu­dies, that ta­boo flu­en­cy is po­si­ti­ve­ly cor­re­la­ted with other me­a­su­res of ver­bal flu­en­cy, un­der­mi­nes the [nor­mal] view of swea­ring. ‘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.’


Pro­fes­sor Ben Ber­gen says we ha­ve ma­ny mis­con­cep­ti­ons about swea­ring.

(Photo: i2.mir­

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