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Chaire Internationale 2024 : Kristy Beers Fägersten - U. Södertörn (Suède)

Dernière mise à jour : il y a 2 jours



Nous accueillerons à partir du 29 mai 2024, la professeure Kristy Beers Fägersten pour une série de quatre séminaires sur le thème "The ecosystem of swearing : How intra- and interpersonal variability sustains the power of offensive language".


Les séminaires auront lieu à l'université Paris Cité - bâtiment Olympe de Gouges - 8 rue Albert Einstein 75013 Paris - Salle 533.


Mercredi 29 mai : 14h - 16h

Vendredi 31 mai : 10h - 12h

Mercredi 12 juin : 14h - 16h

Mercredi 19 juin : 14h - 16h


Abstract :


Having recourse to language that conveys negative feelings and sensations is essential for self- expression, self preservation, and interpersonal communication; this is particularly evident in an

increasingly polarized society. Swearing, a form of linguistic expression which involves invoking taboos that are culturally and socially recognized as likely to cause offence, fulfills such expressive functions. But swearing is also characteristic of informal social interaction among friends and intimates, symbolizing solidarity and minimizing social distance, and acclaimed as a marker of intelligence, honesty, integrity, and even high social status. The use of swear words thus has positive as well as negative connotations and functions, such that the benefits of swearing now rival its stigma as bad behavior, and swearers are just as likely to be cheered as they are chastised. Essential to swearing as a complex social phenomenon is its inherent ‘power’ – widely recognized if not always equally experienced. Indeed, the power of swearing as offensive language is not absolute; it is simply the tension resulting from the potential to offend, which is in turn maintained by both intrapersonal and interpersonal variability, that allows swear words to retain their inherent force. The power of swearing is thus sustained by – but also vulnerable to – variation in individual relationships to swear word usage. This seminar series thusly proposes an “ecosystem of swearing,” to be explored via the following topics:


Seminar 1: The swearing paradox.

Mercredi 29 mai : 14h - 16h

Salle 533 - bâtiment Olympe de Gouges - 8 rue Albert Einstein 75013 Paris


This seminar will introduce swearing research in the fields of sociolinguistics and pragmatics, presenting common methodologies, findings, and especially challenges, including defining swearing, avoiding researcher bias, and advocating for swearing as a focus of scientific research. The seminar features interactive elements in the form of voluntary data collection and offensiveness ratings so as to illustrate a problem that has plagued swearing research as informed by studies of frequency and offensiveness, namely, the Swearing Paradox, or the unexplained status of swearing as both a highly frequent and a highly offensive behavior.


Seminar 2: The folk linguistics of swearing.

Vendredi 31 mai : 10h - 12h

Salle 533 - bâtiment Olympe de Gouges - 8 rue Albert Einstein 75013 Paris


Personal attitudes to swearing often reveal folk-linguistic beliefs about who should swear in which contexts and with whom. This seminar thus considers intra- and interpersonal variation with regard to one’s own and others’ swear word usage. The seminar considers the phenomenon known as self-divergent prescriptivism, whereby swearing is often framed as a default behavior from which one consciously refrains in interactions with those who are deemed to be – or desired to be – non-swearers. Such behavior reflects a reluctance to offend one’s interlocutors but can also belie beliefs about the appropriateness of others’ swear word usage, such that an active avoidance of swear word usage serves to model how others are expected to speak. Underlining the persistence of folk- linguistic beliefs about swearing, this seminar includes examples of commercial products that capitalize on a shared folk-linguistic belief system for who should (not) swear.


Seminar 3: The power of swearing.

Mercredi 12 juin : 14h - 16h

Salle 533 - bâtiment Olympe de Gouges - 8 rue Albert Einstein 75013 Paris


Swearing produces effects that are not observed with other forms of language use. Thus, swearing is powerful. It generates a range of distinctive outcomes: physiological, cognitive, emotional, pain-relieving, interactional, and rhetorical. However, we know that the power of swearing is not intrinsic to the words themselves. How then does swearing get its power? This seminar presents insights from cognitive studies, pragmatics, communication, neuropsychology, and biophysiology, identifying specific effects of swearing, including emotional force and arousal; increased attention and memory; heightened autonomic activity; pain relief; increased strength and stamina; and a range of distinctive interpersonal, relational, and rhetorical outcomes.


Seminar 4: Swearing in English as a second/foreign language.

Mercredi 19 juin : 14h - 16h

Salle 533 - bâtiment Olympe de Gouges - 8 rue Albert Einstein 75013 Paris


For multilingual speakers, swearing in a first language is perceived to have greater emotional intensity than swearing in languages acquired later in life. For this reason, one’s first language is usually the preferred language for emotional swearing.

However, English swear words have been spread worldwide and appropriated by speakers of other languages, such that swearing in English as a second language is a worldwide phenomenon. This seminar presents examples of how the appropriation of English swear words in Sweden has resulted in a two-tier system of swearing, whereby English swear words fulfil distinct pragmatic functions, allowing for a co- existence with their Swedish counterparts. At the same time, their use is at odds with norms of swearing in both the anglophone and native cultures, raising questions about the future of English swear words and their potential to retain their potency, threatening the eco-system of swearing.


References


Seminar 1:

Beers Fägersten, Kristy and Stapleton, Karyn. 2022. Swearing. In F. Brisard, P. Gras, S. D’hondt, and M. Vandenbroucke (eds). Handbook of Pragmatics, Online Vol 25, pp. 129-155. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Beers Fägersten, Kristy and Stapleton, Karyn. (eds) 2017. Advances in Swearing Research. New Languages and New Contexts. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Beers Fägersten, Kristy. 2012. Who’s Swearing Now? The Social Aspects and Pragmatic Functions of Conversational Swearing. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Stapleton, Karyn. 2010. Swearing. In Miriam A. Locher and Sage L. Graham (eds.) Interpersonal Pragmatics. Handbook of Pragmatics 6. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 209-306.


Seminar 2:

Beers Fägersten, Kristy and Stapleton, Karyn. (in press). Everybody swears on Only Murders in the Building: The interpersonal functions of scripted television swearing. Journal of Pragmatics.

Beers Fägersten, Kristy and Pareira, Gerardine. 2021. Swearwords for sale: The commodification of swearing. Pragmatics and Society 12(1): 79-105.

Stapleton, Karyn. 2020. Swearing and perceptions of the speaker: A discursive approach. Journal of Pragmatics 170, 381-395.

Stapleton, Karyn. 2003. Gender and swearing: A community practice. Women and Language 26(2): 22- 33.


Seminar 2:

Beers Fägersten, Kristy and Stapleton, Karyn. (in press). Everybody swears on Only Murders in the Building: The interpersonal functions of scripted television swearing. Journal of Pragmatics.

Beers Fägersten, Kristy and Pareira, Gerardine. 2021. Swearwords for sale: The commodification of swearing. Pragmatics and Society 12(1): 79-105.

Stapleton, Karyn. 2020. Swearing and perceptions of the speaker: A discursive approach. Journal of Pragmatics 170, 381-395.

Stapleton, Karyn. 2003. Gender and swearing: A community practice. Women and Language 26(2): 22- 33.


Seminar 3:

Beers Fägersten, K. and Bednarek, M. 2022. The evolution of swearing in television catchphrases.

Languages and Literature 31(2): 196-226.

Stapleton, Karyn, Beers Fägersten, Kristy, Stephens, Richard, and Loveday, Catherine. 2022. The power of swearing: What we know and what we don’t. Lingua 277: 103476.

Stephens, Richard, Atkins, John, and Kingston, Andrew. 2009. Swearing as a response to pain.

Neuroreport 20(12): 1056-1060.

Stephens, Richard and Robertson, Olly. 2020. Swearing as a response to pain: Assessing hypoalgesic effects of novel “swear” words. Frontiers in Psychology 11: 723.

Stephens, Richard, Spierer, David, and Katehis, Emmanuel. 2018. Effect of swearing on strength and power performance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 35: 111-117.

Stephens, Richard and Umland, Claudia. 2011. Swearing as a response to pain – Effect of daily swearing frequency. The Journal of Pain 12(12): 1274–1281.


Seminar 4:

Beers Fägersten, K. (in press). Anglicization of the languages of the Nordic countries: Popular culture and everyday discourse. In E. Peterson and K. Beers Fägersten (eds.), English in the Nordic Countries: Connections, tensions, and everyday realities. London: Routledge.

Beers Fägersten, Kristy. 2018. På svenska svär vi gärna på engelska. Språkbruk 2018(1): 26-28.

Beers Fägersten, Kristy. 2017. English-language swearwords as humor in Swedish comic strips. Journal of Pragmatics 121: 175-187.

Beers Fägersten, Kristy. 2017. FUCK CANCER, Fucking Åmål, Aldrig fucka upp: The standardization of fuck in Swedish media. In K. Beers Fägersten and K. Stapleton (eds.), Advances in Swearing Research. New Languages and New Contexts, pp. 87-106. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Beers Fägersten, Kristy. 2017. The role of swearing in creating an online persona: The case of YouTuber PewDiePie. Discourse, Context and Media 18: 1-10.


Beers Fägersten, Kristy. 2014. The use of English swear words in Swedish media. In M. Rathje (ed.),

Swearing in the Nordic Countries, pp. 63-82. Copenhagen: Dansk Sprognævn.

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