What the f***? Swearing has become a real curse among ‘desensitised’ Manchester – and experts explain why

We are swearing more than ever according to new figures – with the majority of people ‘used to’ hearing curse words in everyday life

Of those questioned, 82% said that swearing was more common nowadays than in previous years.

A survey of Mancunians also found that 88% of people think we are desensitised to hearing bad words.

These statistics come in a year where The Wolf of Wall Street became officially the sweariest film ever, racking up 506 F-words and beating previous holder Summer of Sam, which contained a modest 435 F-bombs.

“It’s about wanting to make a statement. It tells you a lot about the character,” Kersti Börjars, Professor of Linguistics at The University of Manchester, told MM.

Peter Silverton, the author of Filthy English who first swore aged four before the F-word had even appeared in a novel, said The Wolf of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese knew what he was doing by creating such a profane film.

“Martin Scorsese knows how to use the poetry of swearing, the rhythm of swearing,” the 61-year-old told MM.

With such exposure to swearing in the cinema, and often on television, it is easy to see why such a high percentage of people feel we are no longer moved by bad language.

“This generally happens in language. Words lose their meaning – they lose their punch. We become desensitised to them over time,” said Professor Börjars, 53, the President of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain from 2005-2011.

A lot of Mancunians agree, with the view on the street being that slipping in the occasional “fuck” or “shit” – the two favourite curses among interviewees – is “nothing offensive”.

“I think we’re a lot more casual about swearing,” added Alex Loftus, 19, a student from Manchester, whose view was backed up by Mr Silverton.

“There is less fuss about bad language on the television. And it’s even worse online – people’s bile comes out on comment pages.”

Nevertheless Mr Silverton believes the rise in swearing is not a problem.

“I can’t say I’ve noticed more or less swearing around me. People still swear as much as they ever did,” he said.

“Swearing has always been a part of life and the importance of swearing – releasing tension and creating bonds between people – still exists.”

The author and former journalist was quick to point out however that he’s given up swearing.

“It’s very funny I wrote a book about swearing because I rarely swear,” he chuckled.

People were also asked to come up with new swear words and the replies were colourful: “arsecandle” and “dickwipe” the two stand-out profanities.

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures via Youtube, with thanks.

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