Business Insider spoke to Philip Gooden, author and expert on the origins of the English language, about how society determines what makes swear words offensive and how their connotations can change over time.
“What makes swear words offensive is that people are ready to be offended by them.”
“It’s almost as if society as a whole takes a conscious – or actually unconscious – decision to say ‘this word is taboo’, while other words are not offensive.”
“Things change actually quite quickly. If you think back to 30 or 40 years ago, the kind of language that you can fairly regularly hear on television now and certainly in the cinema and maybe on the radio as well is quite standard, it’s available and accessible to pretty well anybody.”
Watch to hear the full interview.
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