Journal of English Teaching through Movies and Media 2009;10(2):3-28.
Published online December 30, 2009.
Is the 'F-bomb' Dropped from Movies into Minds? Genre and Register-Specific Usage of 'Fuck' in Cinema
McCluskey Kelly
Abstract
This paper examines the sociolinguistic aspects of taboo language in the English speaking world, including a search of the literature to seek further perspectives or insights about taboo items related to cinema and society. Teachers could give more accurate information about taboo items if it were available, but little consensus exists. Cinema presents an excellent opportunity to quantify this relationship. For the sake of research manageability, the range of 'taboo items' is narrowed to fuck-Also known as The F-bomb. The absolute frequency of lemmas of fuck are compared against genre and year in a quantitative analysis of a self-constructed corpus of cinema texts and then isolated KWIC (Key Word in Context) items are examined within a single film's plot line to illustrate possible influences of register, in particular the relationships between the speakers and the hearers. The author concludes that intuitions about the use of fuck in cinema are generally confirmed by the results of this study.
Key Words: taboo language;swearing;swearwords;American cinema;fuck;f***;fucking;f***ing
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