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Fo
idden Words217905
Many words and expressions are viewed as ‘taboo’, such as those used to
describe sex, our bodies and their functions, and those used to insult othe
people. This book provides a fascinating insight into taboo language and its
ole in everyday life. It looks at the ways we use language to be polite o
impolite, politically co
ect or offensive, depending on whether we are
‘sweet talking’, ‘straight talking’ or being deliberately rude. Using a range
of colourful examples, it shows how we use language playfully and figura-
tively in order to swear, to insult, and also to be politically co
ect, and what
our motivations are for doing so. It goes on to examine the differences
etween institutionalized censorship and the ways individuals censor thei
own language. Lively and revealing, Fo
idden Words will fascinate anyone
who is interested in how and why we use and avoid taboos in daily
conversation.
KEITH ALLAN is Reader in Linguistics and Convenor of the Linguistics
Program at Monash University. His research interests focus mainly on
aspects of meaning in language, with a second interest in the history and
philosophy of linguistics. He has published in many books and journals, and
is author of Linguistic Meaning (1986), Euphemism and Dysphemism: Lan-
guage Used as Shield and Weapon (with Kate Bu
idge, 1991), Natural
Language
Semantics
(2001)
and
The
Western
Classical
Tradition
in
Linguistics (2007).
KATE BURRIDGE is Chair of Linguistics at Monash University. Her main
esearch interests are on grammatical change in Germanic languages, Penn-
sylvania German, linguistic taboo, and the structure and history of English.
She is a regular presenter of language segments on ABC radio. Her many
published books include Blooming English (Cam
idge, 2004) and Weeds in
the Garden of Words (Cam
idge, 2005).
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