[b]An Encyclopedia of Swearing: The Social History of Oaths, Profanity, Foul Language, And Ethnic Slurs in the English-speaking World
By Geoffrey Hughes
M.E. Sharpe | March 30, 2006 | ISBN-10: 0765612313 | 573 Pages | PDF | 14.3 Mb
History of Modern Colloquial English, published in 1920, included a half-page discussion about a slang term without ever mentioning it. The word? Bloody, a term considered so taboo at that time that it couldn't even be mentioned in a book on lexicography. More than 80 years later, one can barely escape hearing more-graphic taboo terms on cable television and in the movies or reading them in highbrow publications such as theNew Yorker.
Hughes, a South African English professor, has compiled a fascinating reference work on the history, sociology, and literary uses of foul language and profanity. Alphabetically arranged by topic, the work covers, in addition to terms themselves, a wide range of subjects and individuals: Ethnic insults; Hollywood; Medieval period; Political correctness; and Twain, Mark--to name only a few. The index provides access to words that are not entry headings. Engagingly written and diligently researched, the entries provide helpful information to both lay readers and scholars and include useful bibliographies. The work also offers superb ready-reference information on hard-to-find arcane information, for example, the first time a slang term for copulation was uttered on British television, major dictionaries that include or don't include profane terms, and the case name and citation number of the FCC decision about George Carlin's controversial "Filthy Words" broadcast in 1973.
This is the only encyclopedia of the social history of swearing and foul language in the English-speaking world. It covers the various social dynamics that generate swearing, foul language, and insults in the entire range of the English language. While the emphasis is on American and British English, the different major global varieties such as Australian, Canadian, South African, and Caribbean English are also included.