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A Study of Chinese Swear Word Usage on the Internet

Author: WangMingZuo
Tutor: YeLuAn
School: Shanghai International Studies University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Chinese Swear Words Netspeak Swearing
CLC: H109.4
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 232
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Abstract


Swearing is the use of taboo language with the purpose of expressing the speaker’semotional state and communicating that information to listeners. Field studies (Jay1992,2000) of swearing have demonstrated that swearing in public is not aninfrequent act, and most instances of swearing are conversational. Three reasons aredirectly linked to our production of swearing, namely ‘catharsis’,‘abusiveness’, and‘social’. Manifold pragmatic functions and various psychological and socio-culturalimplications are shown by research and experiments to enrich the content of swearingstudies.Three major findings of the current study:During the research, I find it hard to find a list of Chinese swear words that inform uswhat swear words are in actual use in the daily life. Four reasons contribute to theissue. First, most theses are about Chinese insults rather than Chinese swear words.Secondly, most researchers have dealt with Chinese insults in a semantic approach.Thirdly, Chinese academia devalue the significance of swearing and swear words.Fourth, swear words are unwelcome to corpus. In order to have a deeperunderstanding of what swear words are in actual use, I started collecting andclassifying popular swear words on the Internet where Netspeak, language on theInternet prevails and has caught much attention from the academic field. Swear wordsare classified into ten categories:1.Words that does not contain a verb,2.Wordsrelated to “去” and “滚”,3. Words related to “fuck”,4. Single character swearing(noun),5. Shit related words,6. Euphemistic expletives,7.“傻逼” family,8. Generalinsults,9. Particular insults, and10. Positive swearing.Second, Based on the classification, rating of offensiveness for swear words is thenconducted, which lays the foundation for further studies on the distribution of swearwords on the Internet. The rating questionnaires show that gender plays an importantrole in the perception of swearing. Male and female have different attitudes towardparticular swear words.Third, the analysis for online distribution with help of searching engine suggests thatonline swearing also conforms to a wide range of social and physical settings, similaras its offline counterpart. Swear words have different distribution across differenttypes of websites and different sections of the same website.

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