The worldwide use and meaning of the f-word

Ruth E. Vatvedt Fjeld, Elsa Kristiansen, Marianne Rathje, Veturlidi Oskarsson, Natalia Konstaninovskaia, Inayat Gill, Fekede Menuta

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

This article documents the increasing use of the English curse word fuck worldwide, as well as its degree of adaption into the host language, its syntactic function, and its meaning and its strength as taboo. Comparing the use of fuck with a special focus on the Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark, and Iceland) with its use in Eurasia and Africa (with different alphabets, namely Cyrillic in Russia, Devan garī in India and Ge'ez script in Ethiopia), we found some similar developmental patterns, but also differences, for example to what degree the English loan word has replaced local curses and in what ways among social groups within a country. Comparing the terms used for the same concept was challenging because some countries have better text corpora and more research on written languages and especially on taboos, and those without such resources required additional minor investigations for a baseline. Findings revealed that fuck has spread worldwide from English, and it is commonly used in Nordic languages today. In Russian fuck is also adopted into the heritage language to a relatively high degree, and it has further gained importance in the vocabulary of India, where English has become the most used language by the higher and middle classes, but less so by lower classes. In contrast, the study of Amharic language in Ethiopia shows that the f-word is rarely used at all, and only by youngsters. We found a pattern starting from the outer North with Icelandic having adapted and adopted the word fuck the most, a slight decline in use in Norwegian and Danish, with less adaption and use in Russian, even less in Indian-English or Hindi, and being more or less absent in the African language Amharic. Formally though it is used conceptually both in Hindi and Amharic.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftIntercultural Pragmatics
Vol/bind16
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)85–111
ISSN1612-295X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 20. feb. 2019

Fingeraftryk

Syntactics
language
Ethiopia
India
lower class
written language
Iceland
Denmark
loan
Norway
middle class
Fuck
vocabulary
Russia
Language
Amharic
resources
Taboo
Curse

Citer dette

Fjeld, R. E. V., Kristiansen, E., Rathje, M., Oskarsson, V., Konstaninovskaia, N., Gill, I., & Menuta, F. (2019). The worldwide use and meaning of the f-word. Intercultural Pragmatics, 16(1), 85–111. https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2019-0004
Fjeld, Ruth E. Vatvedt ; Kristiansen, Elsa ; Rathje, Marianne ; Oskarsson, Veturlidi ; Konstaninovskaia, Natalia ; Gill, Inayat ; Menuta, Fekede. / The worldwide use and meaning of the f-word. I: Intercultural Pragmatics. 2019 ; Bind 16, Nr. 1. s. 85–111.
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Fjeld, REV, Kristiansen, E, Rathje, M, Oskarsson, V, Konstaninovskaia, N, Gill, I & Menuta, F 2019, 'The worldwide use and meaning of the f-word', Intercultural Pragmatics, bind 16, nr. 1, s. 85–111. https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2019-0004

The worldwide use and meaning of the f-word. / Fjeld, Ruth E. Vatvedt; Kristiansen, Elsa ; Rathje, Marianne; Oskarsson, Veturlidi; Konstaninovskaia, Natalia; Gill, Inayat; Menuta, Fekede.

I: Intercultural Pragmatics, Bind 16, Nr. 1, 20.02.2019, s. 85–111.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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Fjeld REV, Kristiansen E, Rathje M, Oskarsson V, Konstaninovskaia N, Gill I et al. The worldwide use and meaning of the f-word. Intercultural Pragmatics. 2019 feb 20;16(1):85–111. https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2019-0004