Language We Find Offensive is Changing


Most people use swear words to vent some emotion. As society has become more secular, we're not as offended by cursing as we are by racial slurs.

Author Benjamin Bergen says the list of offensive words has changed over time.

“The worst words in the language are predominantly not the words that George Carlin would have told you (are) the words you can't say on television,” Bergen points out. “They're a new class of words -- slurs.”

A list compiled by researchers in California put slurs at the top.

“In fact,” he says, “you find that a four-letter word that starts with F is actually 13th on the list.”

It may seem counter-intuitive, but people who swear more are seen as being more honest, or forthright in their communication.


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