For the uninitiated, Strong Language is a group blog about swearing – the linguistics and culture of taboo language – set up by James Harbeck and me in 2014. It boasts a great team of writers comprising linguists, lexicographers, historians, editors, and other word adepts.
There are swears in this post, so bail out now if they bother you.
So far I’ve published 29 posts on the blog – some of them guest posts I’ve edited, including one last week by Michael Adams on Donald Trump’s swearing. Our busiest day yet was 1 August last year: over 30,000 people read my post ‘Mapping the United Swears of America’ after it was featured in the Washington Post and other outlets.
I’ve also written about sweary films (visual swears, swear avoidance), sweary songs (Four Femmes; Flight of the Conchords), sweary video games, sweary Sean Bean, sweary abbreviations, bollocking data, fucking ambiguity, and more sweary maps.
Total posts now top 200. There’s Iva Cheung’s sweary oddities, Nancy Friedman’s bawdy brands, John Kelly’s sweary Shakespeare, Gretchen McCulloch’s expletive infixes, Lauren Gawne’s rude gestures, Ben Zimmer’s learnèd lewdness, Rob Chirico’s cultures of cursing, Anne Gilson LaLonde’s scandalous trademarks, Terry O’Hagan’s Irish imprecations, James Harbeck’s obscenaesthetic observations, and many other vulgar delights.
James and I were recently interviewed about Strong Language, and about swearing, on WordPress’s Discover blog, where the comments – like those on our sweary blog – show a general appreciation for and fascination with profanity.
Strong Language is not for everyone, but if you share our interest in taboo vocabulary and such things, take a look. You can also follow @stronglang on Twitter for more regular items of a profane nature.
Cartoon by George Belcher for Punch, 1921. Caption:
Lady: “Is is really necessary to use such dreadful expressions whilst you are at work?”
Plumber: “No, mum, it ain’t exactly necessary, but the quality of the work will suffer if we don’t.”