Have we always sworn like troopers? Has creative cursing developed simply because we can't thump someone when they make us mad? And if verbal aggression is universal, why is it that some languages (Japanese for instance) supposedly have no offensive words?
An amusing and idiosyncratic look at the power of words to shock, offend, insult, amuse, exaggerate, let off steam, and communicate deep-felt emotions, Language Most Foul is a must-read for anyone who loves language---or has ever stubbed their toe.
Ruth Wajnryb has gone where almost no linguist before her has dared to go This well-researched study of foul language is simply fascinating. Written with great humour, it is full of interesting history and funny anecdotes.
About Ruth Wajnryb
Dr Ruth Wajnryb is an applied linguist, researcher and writer. She has a regular weekly column in The Sydney Morning Herald's 'Saturday Spectrum' in which she explores often offbeat linguistic topics with her characteristic intelligence and lightness of touch.