Swearing and using profanities can be extremely useful and a sign of intelligence, according to a British scientist who has written a book on "bad language."
Come along to @TheStoryMuseum #Oxford this Thursday 7-8pm for our interactive #talk with #author of #SwearingisGoodforYou Emma Byrne @SciWriBy. Play with #A.I web robots, swear tests & ice water challenge! *&@!*&^ 🗣 👀 £8 / £5 students / conc.— Science Oxford (@scienceoxford) November 13, 2017
Book: https://t.co/dAn4vA3gBL pic.twitter.com/aAWmQto7fC
Dr. Emma Byrne, the author of Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language, said the reason that people swear when they are injured is because it actually reduces the feelings of pain and discomfort.
"It's physiological. It helps you to withstand pain longer. Experiments were done where people put their hand in icy cold water and by swearing you can last longer and it actually felt less cold," Dr. Byrne told Sputnik.
"Strong language can be good for you. Certain words can give you an emotional jolt. We use them in all sorts of ways," she added.
No 'Quack Science'
Dr. Byrne said there had been an extraordinary amount of research done into "industrial language," and her findings were by no means "quack science."
"One study found that if you have a stroke on the left side of your brain, you can retain your ability to swear."
"My favorite case study was of a stroke patient who was shown pictures of all sorts of things, from hammers to chairs and he could not recall the words. But when he saw a picture of [former US President] Ronald Reagan, he came out with all these swearwords," Dr. Byrne told Sputnik.
Swearing at Football Stadiums
Dr. Byrne has also carried out her own research with colleagues at City University, London, into the use of swearing during football matches.
She said it was no surprise that language inside football stadiums was quite bad, but she said it was nowhere near as aggressive as people might think and was often aimed at the fans' own players, rather than the opposition.
She said swearing was also a global phenomenon, although the words chosen are sometimes very different.
After Eddie Jones admitted his mum called him to tell him off for swearing on the telly… when was the last time you had a ticking off from your mum? 😂 #MumRage— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) November 14, 2017
"There are no cultures around the world that have no swearwords at all. But the source of swearwords vary wildly. For example, in Japan there is no taboo about defecation, which is why you get the smiley poop emoji. In fact, the Japanese want to introduce more poop emojis into the Unicode, and the Irish in particular, vigorously opposed it," she told Sputnik.
Dr. Byrne said reproductive organs and excretions were common sources of swearwords in most cultures.
'Cancer Is a Dutch Swearword'
"But there are also religious swearwords, especially in Catholic countries, and lots of fascinating variations. In Germany, calling someone a pig or some other animal names is considered a swearword, and in Dutch the words for typhoid and cancer are considered swearwords," Dr. Byrne explained.
She also said it was a misnomer to say less intelligent people swore more.
"Repeated studies have shown that the better your vocabulary is the better you are at swearing. It also shows a lot about your emotional intelligence. If you model the cultural background of the people you're dealing with then your swearing will have more impact and you will also know when not to overstep the mark," said Dr. Byrne.
"There have been studies which show that better managers and those with good interpersonal skills use swearing incredibly effectively," Dr. Byrne told Sputnik.
When Women Stopped Swearing
She said the history of swearing was also fascinating.
Then in the 19th century the prudish Victorians frowned on swearing by both men and women and even the word "trousers" was banned — replace by the word "ineffables."
"In the United States they had the same attitudes right up until the 1950s. Winston Churchill was once told off for asking for some chicken breast. He was told by a woman breast was referred to in polite society as white meat. Churchill then sent her an orchid, with the message 'I would be obliged if you would pin this on your white meat,' " Dr. Byrne told Sputnik.
Perhaps things have come full circle because on Monday, November 13, it was reported that Facebook had banned the sale of Christmas cards which contained pictures of robin redbreasts, citing them as "adult content."