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Ruth Wajnryb

Ruth Wajnryb is an applied linguist, researcher, and writer. She has a weekly column in The Sydney Morning Herald in which she explores linguistic topics.
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Have we always "sworn like sailors"? Has creative cursing developed because we can't just slug people when they make us angry? And if such verbal aggression is universal, why is it that some languages (Japanese, for instance) supposedly do not contain any nasty words? Throughout the twentieth century there seems to have been a dramatic escalation in the use and acceptance of offensive language in English, both verbally and in print. Today it seems almost commonplace to hear the "f" word in casual...
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