Research results that ``bad words'' have common features in different languages

Psychologists at the University of London have discovered that there may be common traits across languages about the words we use when we curse or speak ill of someone. The commonality of profanity vocal patterns across different languages suggests that profanity is shaped by common biases in the human brain.

The sound of swearing: Are there universal patterns in profanity?

Most Swear Words Have a Common Feature, Even Across Different Languages : ScienceAlert

According to psychologists Shiri Lev Ali and Ryan McKay, swearing at people is common in many languages around the world, and lacks what is called an approximating sound . An approximant is a sound made by bringing the lips, teeth, tongue, or upper jaw closer together without touching them, such as the 'y' sound when pronouncing 'yes' or the 'w' sound of 'war'. is applicable. Consonants in words that contain approximants are less likely to drown out adjacent vowels and sound softer than ' plosives ' such as ``p'', ``t'', and ``k''.

While it is believed that ``there is no direct causal relationship between the sounds of a language and what the language represents,'' especially in onomatopoeia, there is the idea of ``phonetic

symbolism, '' which focuses on the causal relationship between the sounds and the referent. . In a previous study, when speakers of more than 20 different languages were given the meaningless words ``booba'' and ``kiki'', they tended to associate ``booba'' with a round shape and ``kiki'' with a pointed shape. As a result, the associative effect between language sounds and visual impressions has been named the ' Bouba/Kiki effect '. The following movie is a commentary on the Bouba/Kiki effect by Professor Tetsuyuki Nakamura of Toyo Gakuen University, and even in research conducted at the university targeting students and faculty members, most people pointed to the rounded side. I am replying to you as Kiki.

What is the psychological test 'Bouba Kiki effect'? - YouTube

Some consonants, including the bouba/kiki effect, are perceived by humans as sharper or sharper than others, which can also apply to swearing. To study the tendency of consonants to be used swearing, Ali and McKay asked 20 subjects speaking five different local languages to name as many swear words and curse words as possible. The phrases '34 in Hebrew, 14 in Hindi, 14 in Hungarian, 17 in Korean and 26 in Russian' were analyzed. As a result, while there were no indications of many plosives in the cursed phrases, it was found that they contained few approximating sounds, including ``l'', ``r'', ``w'', and ``y''. .

Additionally, two experiments were conducted to see how the sound was perceived. First, they created a 'fictitious swear word' and had 215 participants speaking six different languages guess whether the word was a 'offensive swear word' based on how the phrase sounded. Even with this result, it seems that words that do not contain approximants are more likely to be considered unpleasant curse than words that contain approximants.

In the second experiment, we investigated whether 'gentle swearing' functions as a roundabout expression. In English there is a slang called 'Damn', but there is also a more polite way of saying 'Darn' with the same meaning. This is called ' minced oaths ,' and is a method of intentionally misspelling or substituting profane words or taboo expressions to give a softer impression. You can When researchers analyzed the list of phrases used as 'Minced oaths', they found that approximating sounds were often used as replacements to suppress discomfort.

While noting that approaching sounds may soften the impression of phrases, Ali and McKay said, ``This idea is probabilistic, not deterministic. potential cognitive biases that may have operated in concert with the historical chances that shaped the evolution of is not what you would expect.'

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