Journal of English Teaching through Movies and Media 2015;16(2):53-66.
Published online July 30, 2015.
Corpus-based Analysis of Swearwords in American Soap Operas
Myongsu Park
Swearwords are common in every language and the English language is not an exception. Although some swearwords still remain taboo in authentic materials such as movies and soap operas depending on viewer ratings, many of them are commonly used in everyday conversations. The present research aimed at examining how swearwords are used in the American soap operas and suggesting that EFL educators should teach their learners the pragmatic values of swearwords, degree and nuances of swearwords, and alternative words and phrases substituting swearwords. Twelve target swearwords— fuck, hell, ass, damn, bitch, shit, penis (vagina, and other genitals), crap, screw, suck, piss, and bloody—were investigated in the Corpus of American Soap Operas (SOAP) with 100 million words complied from ten popular American soap operas from 2001 to 2012. The corpus-based analysis revealed relatively strong swearwords—fuck, shit, and vagina—were not detected at all in the corpus and instead, out of the 12 target swearwords, hell topped the swearword list, followed by damn, bitch, screw, crap, ass, bloody, suck, piss, and penis. Compared with the spoken sections of both BNC and COCA, the target swearwords except fuck, shit, vagina, penis, crap, piss, and bloody occurred more frequently in SOAP than its counterparts.
Key Words: corpus;swearwords;swearing;soap opera;vocabulary analysis

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