Former PhD student Matthew Hunt has just published a co-authored article in Journal of Sociolinguistics entitled 'Swear(ING) ain't play(ING): The interaction of taboo language and the sociolinguistic variable'
This article is the first publication from Hunt's PhD and details two experiments conducted on swearing and variable (ING), the technical term for the alternation between pronunciations like ‘playing’ and ‘playin’. As we show in the article, swearwords behave differently to neutral words when it comes to variable (ING), influencing how the ending is perceived by a listener and, in turn, influencing their social judgments of the different pronunciations. This research takes a novel approach to social perceptions of swearing, being the first to look at how variation in the pronunciation of the same swearword might affect how that swearword is perceived. This has further consequences for how we think of the interaction between linguistic and social knowledge.