Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Language Matters, I Swear

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Language Matters, I Swear

Article excerpt

THE not-so-humble swear word is a powerful thing.

Throw a bunch of them in any MA-rated movie or hip-hop song and no-one will bat an eyelid.

Yet, when I accidentally use a rather bad one in front of my mother while describing my sisters' best friend; all of a sudden I'm the bad guy.

If you're reading this, Scott Robinson, thank you for constantly using the worst swear word ever in front of me when I was 10 years old and then never telling me what it meant.

I'm sure my very-Christian mother, the mother of my sister's friend and my swimming teacher thank you very much for my impromptu English lesson.

In an average situation, say having a quiet candlelit dinner with the Pope, I find it rather easy to control my tongue.

Yet if I was to drop a heavy object on my delicate, ever-so-slightly girly fingers, then the obscenities would flow faster than you could say "#*@$!"

But a recent survey has found that maybe I shouldn't give a freaking gosh-darn about what comes out of my mouth in painful situations.

The Keele University in England has found swearing after or during times of physical pain can actually increase tolerance.

They had 64 volunteers submerge their hand in a tub of ice water for as long as possible, while either repeating a swear word or a neutral word without any meaning.

As luck would have it, the potty-mouths managed to tolerate more pain.

I love living in a world where you can get 64 people to use the foulest language for two straight minutes and call it "science".

And the results come as no surprise.

If you've ever stubbed your toe and called out "Ah fu...dge brownies!" you've probably congratulated yourself on your self-control.

But comparing that to screaming out your favourite curse word is like comparing tofu to steak: Sure it's better for you, but it's not quite as satisfying is it? …

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