The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television

The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television

3.8 (236 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Why are some words rude and others aren't? Why can launching into expletives be so shocking - and sometimes so amusing?

In this hilarious extract from his bestselling The Stuff of Thought Steven Pinker takes us on a fascinating journey through the world of profanities, to show us why we swear, how taboos change and how we use obscenities in different ways.

Why do so many swear words involve sex, bodily functions and religion? What are the biological roots of swearing ? Why would a democracy deter the use of words for two activities - sex and excretion - that harm no one and are inescapable parts of the human condition?

Taboo language enters into a startling array of human concerns from capital crimes in the Bible to the future of electronic media. You'll discover that in Quebecois French the expression `Tabernacle' is outrageous, that `scumbag' has a very unsavoury origin and that in a certain Aboriginal language every word is filthy when spoken in front of your mother-in-law.

Covering everything from free speech to Tourette's, from pottymouthed celebrities to poetry, this book reveals what swearing tells us about how our minds work. (It's also a bloody good read).
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Product details

  • Paperback | 96 pages
  • 108 x 176 x 8mm | 60g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141038721
  • 9780141038728
  • 1,133,027

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About Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is one of the world's most influential thinkers and writers on the human condition. His popular and highly praised books include The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, The Stuff of Thought, The Blank Slate, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching, books, and scientific research, Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He also writes frequently for The New York Times, the Guardian and other publications. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine's "The World's Top 100 Public Intellectuals," Foreign Policy's "100 Global Thinkers," and Time magazine's "The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today."
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Rating details

236 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 24% (56)
4 44% (103)
3 26% (61)
2 3% (8)
1 3% (8)
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