In most societies, swearing has always been considered as rude and offensive language.
Nevertheless, many people still frequently use swear words in their daily lives. According to Wang (2013), swearing can be considered as a form of a unique communication that has a different function than the normal one. Although it may seem like a drastic move by someone to interact with other people using swear words, intentionally or unintentionally, we could consider swearing as a bond where the implications of it may be divided into two, whether it ends with a good or bad impression.
Normally, in the topic of swearing, swear words can be use for a various reason, but mainly as a direct and transparent of emotional feeling such as anger, frustration and depression (Janschewitz, 2008).According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, taboo words can be defined as an inhibition word resulting from social custom or aversion. The purpose of swear words is to express anger and frustration. The way we decide whether some words are sworn words or not are basically hanging in the society itself. Taboos are actually cultural practices, where the older generation would warn their younger generation about some activity or some word that would bring a lot of bad implicative and the prohibition of doing some “bad activity” at the earlier stage. The consciousness of the word spoken would be internalised within childhood stage, and mostly they will react much stronger to taboo words that come from their first language or L1, rather than their second language, known as L2.
Eventually, when people are getting much older, we would have this sense of understanding and acceptance of some word that would appear as taboo words and should be avoided because it might cause some discomfort among older generation. As cited in Locher and Graham (2010), as time goes by, expletives have been recognized to be used in three different expressions, which are: I. Refers to something taboo or stigmatized II. Is not to be interpreted in a literal form III. Express strong emotions or attitudesIn these three different expressions, somehow, taboo words become habitual to all community, where swearing is not rude and blunt, but rather have another form of functions to be interpreted as for example, to show their strong emotions.
According to McKervey (2015), there are five types of swearing, namely; abusive swearing, cathartic swearing, dysphemistic swearing, empathic swearing and idiomatic swearing. Even though swearing might have the same communication context, there are big differences between someone who wants to exaggerate a situation and someone who wants to particularly intimidate another person. In modern society, communication has been evolved around the internet.
One of the media where we could see many interactions happening every day would be on YouTube commentaries. According to the statistics, YouTube is the third most viewed other than Google and Facebook. Evolving into the 21st century, YouTube created a medium or platform where people could easily interact and comment on each other which have been known to the world as YouTube comments. YouTube comment was originally being produced by this nerd guy name Slowbeef who posted a video game on a comedy website.
This video is basically a game where people could actually interact with each other (Encyclopaedia Dramatica, 2016). By adopting the theory of the video game, YouTube came out with something similar, which is the YouTube Comments, where people could easily post their emotion for the whole world to read. What then started as giving feedback on the video, because in the earlier day, people posted a video to share it with the world, now has become wild cancer where everybody wants to share something in the video to become famous. This is the platform where people who visit YouTube regularly to post their comments, where most of the time, we could see a lot of emotions whirling around and being shared to everyone in the world. Cursing or using taboo word happens regularly in the YouTube commentaries.
It does not matter whether the video posted is something good or bad, there will be someone from the world community who would just post swear words, in a form to express themselves exaggeratedly. The purpose of this research is to find out why people tend to use swear words in YouTube commentaries, what type of swear words do people frequently use by the commentators. 1.
2 Problem Statement The main issue on conversational swearing has become one of the main topics that have been discussed by researcher and linguist for centuries. As the world developed, the human mind also developed into a different perception and norms. The norms of nowadays conversation would include the use of swearing.
It seems like our world has made a sharp turn from decency and politeness towards rudeness and vulgarity. According to Dynel (2011), impoliteness spreads among the user of internet medium, and it has been said that it more terrible than verbally spoken words. The problem arises when this kind of norm is being accepted by the people just because ‘everyone does it’.
Cursing has become a regular feature of online talk and the fact that nobody cares to raise awareness on the impoliteness of swearing itself is troublesome. The problem with swearing on internet medium is that most of people who actually use swear words are among younger generation, particularly the millennial generation. According to Blattberg (2015), younger people with the age range among 18-34 tend to spend more times in YouTube website. The thing that is so worrisome is that, sometimes, we don’t know the real reason why they feel the need to use swear words when communicating with each other.
It feels like cursing has become a regular feature online talk and the fact that nobody cares to raise awareness on the impoliteness of swearing itself is troublesome. The need of raising awareness among younger generation about swearing is very crucial because, from research made, people who swear a lot would generally portray themselves to be more aggressive and unhappy. This particular habit is not acceptable because there is still part of people who still think that profanity is rude and it would make them uncomfortable. There is some societal discomfort about a person trying to express themselves or their feelings, particularly ones that are perceived as negative. This is because sometimes the world could not tolerate with them, it’s too much and exaggerating. The abusive written word that is directed towards other in a negative manner would affect an individual to be hurt, psychologically and emotionally. 1.
3 Significance of the studyThe findings of this study will reveal whether vulgar words can be considered as polite or impolite because it is argued that sometimes swear words can be placed on a continuum ranging from both manners. This study will be a significant endeavour to the younger generation to raise awareness on the impoliteness of swearing, thus, making them think that this “conversational swearing” are not always acceptable by everyone, especially the older generation. By understanding the meaning behind swearing, this younger generation could actually understand that not all swearing is merely to describe feeling, but sometimes it can be harmful when being used with the intent to hurt or insult other people.
1.4 Research Objectives The objectives of this research are: 1) To highlight the impoliteness of swearing in YouTube commentaries 2) To categorise the type of swearing that people frequently used in YouTube commentaries. 3) To identify the reasons why people tend to swear in YouTube commentaries even though, theoretically it will hurt the emotion of the reader.
1.5 Research QuestionsThe research is prompted by the following research questions:1) Why swearing can be considered as impolite? 2) Why types of swear words that people frequently use in order to express their emotions? 3) Why people tend to use swearing when expressing their emotion in YouTube commentaries?1.6 Limitations of the studyThere are some limitations that the researcher will face while doing the research. These limitations are important to be recognized for the future research references.
The limitations are listed as below: 1.6.1 Scope of studyThe scope of this research would only be on the YouTube commentaries platform, where three different videos from the same genre would be randomly chosen. Therefore, the analysis for this research paper would be restricted according to the different context and videos that are chosen, not generally to all YouTube videos.
Besides that, this research paper would not aim at different races or gender, but only the context of the swear words that they use, so there will be no scientifically explanation on the elements that will contribute to the usage of swear word, for example, men or women, or between races, such as Malay or Indian. 1.6.2 Time FrameThe researcher has conducted this research within only four months period. Thus, the findings may not be conclusive as this is due to the short period of time to collect data.
The researcher may gain more accurate findings if they are given a longer duration of time and they will also, able to collect more and focus on those variables involved in the study. Furthermore, with longer study duration, the slightest effects of the variables can also be seen through the investigation. 1.
7 Definition of terms 1.7.2 Swearing/Swear wordsAccording to Fagersten (2012) swear words have many names such as bad words, taboo words, foul language, or rude language, but all in all they have the same context of definition which is any word that has potential to appear offensive, rude and harsh. There are many reasons why people use swearing in daily life but, there are only two main reasons that are highlighted until now and that would be; to express emotion or to vent or releases it and the other one would be to the conveyed message that is more direct and effective.
1.7.1 Impoliteness As cited in Jonathan (2009), impoliteness is behaviour that is face-aggravating in a particular context. Basically, impoliteness occurs when someone violates the rules of politeness strategy where they would be expected to speak or write a word that would be interpreted as harsh and rude. Impoliteness in this paper would refer to the behaviour of using swear word that is posted in YouTube comments that could be conveyed by the reader as rude. 1.
7.3 Younger generation/ Millennial GenerationFor the term younger generation, this research paper would use the millennial generation, which according to Main (2014), bring the definition of the people born in the year ranges between 1980 to 2000. The millennial generation could also be referred to Generation Y, Peter Pan or Boomerang generation. For this particular research, our aim would be a person with the age of 15-28 because this is the type of people who we could see on the YouTube commentaries frequently.