Community Languages Australia

Australian Federation of Ethnic Schools Associations Inc.

Can one swear "appropriately" A comparison of swearing in English L1 and English LX users

Swearing “appropriately” typically requires an advanced level of sociopragmatic competence (Dewaele, 2008), which might explain why
foreign language (LX) users tend to avoid it more than L1 users. Because swearwords in a LX dovnot sound quite as bad as the ones in the L1, some LX users may use these “funny” words and come across as more impolite than intended. I will argue that swearing is not intrinsically “impolite” but rather an indication of “in-group” membership, which makes its use more tricky for LX users with a foreign accent. I will present an overview of the research on swearing among Photo: Prof Jean Marc Dewaele president of the European Second
Language Association (2007-2011) and Convenor of the AILA Research Network Multilingualism: Acquisition and Use. He is father of a trilingual daughter, a keen walker, sailor, skier and karate-ka. multilinguals, focusing on the effects of personality, social, biographical and contextual variables on self-reported swearing data in a corpus of English of 1159 L1 users and 1142 LX users.

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