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    Blistering barnacles! What language do multilinguals swear in?!

    Dewaele, Jean-Marc (2004) Blistering barnacles! What language do multilinguals swear in?! Estudios de Sociolinguistica 5 (1), pp. 83-105. ISSN 1576-7418.


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    The present contribution focuses on the effects of language dominance / attrition, context of acquisition, age of onset of learning, frequency of general use of a language and sociodemographic variables on self-reported language choice for swearing. The analysis is based on a database to which 1039 multilinguals contributed through a web based questionnaire. Results suggest that, according to the self-reports, swearing happens most frequently in the multilinguals’ dominant language. Mixed instruction, an early start in the learning process, and frequent use of a language all contribute to the choice of that language for swearing. Sociodemographic variables were not found to have any effect. Frequency of language choice for swearing was found to be positively correlated with perceived emotional force of swearwords in that language. Quantitative results based on answers to close-ended questions corresponded to participants’ responses to open-ended questions.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2007
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:29


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