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Bad Words and Taboo Terms - Essay

Autor:   •  March 30, 2019  •  Essay  •  1,389 Words (6 Pages)  •  14 Views

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Bad Words and Taboo Terms – Final Essay

        Having recently settled on the planet of Utaboopia, I have been amazed at the similarities between our two worlds. In my convergence with these great people, I have discovered their profound ability to communicate. But as sophisticated as their communication skills are, I have noticed they are missing a vital linguistical element. Their missing element is one that has become entrenched within our everyday English, the art of taboo language. It is my duty to the people of Utaboopia, through this article, to bring them out of the dark and enlightened as to the world of taboo words and teach them how we use this critical linguistic tool on Earth.

        I will first describe what taboo language is through definitions, examples, and data; second, illustrate the varying degrees of severity among taboo words to convey how each word carries an individual level of offensive nature. Finally, I will showcase how taboo language plays a significant role in our culture as inhabitants of Earth to help the Utaboopians understand the value taboo words can provide.

        The history of the word taboo originates from the Tongan word tabu meaning ‘forbidden’ (OED, pg. 1 – This Book is Taboo). In our society on Earth, taboos are anything that society censors or believes should be forbidden from the public forum. Taboos are societal conventions in the form of behaviors, words, or actions which are discouraged but are subject to the culture, context, people, and norms of each individual society. Taboo language is most commonly used in relaxed and informal settings as a way to describe something or someone in an unpleasant way. According to, This Book is Taboo, taboo language, “is the cover term we use for any sort of linguistic taboo. The most common type of taboo language is taboo words.” (pg. 2 – This Book is Taboo). Fuck, kike, and pussy are each examples of a different type of taboo word, which I will address later.

        The chart below from our Tabooness Survey - Results, we see a range of taboo words on the bottom and a taboo severity scale on the left - it is evident that each of these words means something different but more importantly that each of them hold a varying degree of tabooness:

[pic 1]

        To further iterate this point of varying degrees of tabooness, take the word fuck for example.  Universally considered a very taboo word, but when ranked by a class of college students and presented graphically with total votes on the left and taboo score on the bottom, the results are mixed.  [pic 2]

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