Swearing is Better in One’s Native Language

swear_words_P_250px.jpg“The Emotional Force of Swearwords and Taboo Words in the Speech of Multilinguals,” J.M. Dewaele, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, vol. 25, nos. 2-3, 2004, pp. 204-22 (http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/62). (Thanks to Cathy Harris-Caldwell for bringing this to our attention.) The author explains:
“This paper investigates the perception of emotional force of swearwords and taboo words (S-T words) among 1039 multilinguals…. Participants who learned their language(s) in a naturalistic or partly naturalistic context gave higher ratings on emotional force of S-T words in that language than instructed language learners.”
(That’s an excerpt from the article “Soft Is Hard” (Further evidence why the ‘soft’ sciences are the hardest to do well),” published in AIR 14:1.)