9780631187356 / 0631187359

Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English (Language Library)


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Publisher:Blackwell Pub, 1993



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About the book:

This is the history of the lexical underworld of the English language. It details the story of impropriety in language and of the lower registers of the foul and obscene. From the earliest times swearing has existed in many variegated forms from the deadly curse to trivial expletives occasioned by annoyance. The book tells of the use of magic in primitive societies, of the binding oath of the Anglo-Saxon warrior and of blasphemy in the medieval age of faith. It describes how in the Renaissance swearing acquired a more secular idiom, and how the conflict between linguistic exuberance and official exuberance lasted up until modern times. There are also sections on the various types of abuse - racist and sexist among others.

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