It’s commonly believed that those who throw swear words around freely are either uneducated, lazy, have a minuscule vocabulary, or all of the above.
Now, we can officially say, those who subscribe to that belief are just a**holes.
A pair of psychologists from two U.S. colleges conducted an experiment to see if knowing a variety of curse words meant you knew few proper words.
For their study, published in “Language Sciences,” they tested the overall vocabulary of participants between the ages of 18 and 22. First, they asked them to name as many taboo words as they could within a time limit beginning with a certain letter. Then, they were asked to do the same with animals, and again with any general word.
"A voluminous taboo lexicon may better be considered an indicator of healthy verbal abilities"
Contrary to popular belief, those who were well-versed in swear words also had a more expansive vocabulary and a better grasp on language.
Of course, that’s not to say being able to curse like a trucker means you’re guaranteed to be the smartest person in the room.
But the authors write that: “...a voluminous taboo lexicon may better be considered an indicator of healthy verbal abilities rather than a cover for their deficiencies.”
Swearing has also been found to relieve stress and pain, both physical and emotional.
So, yes, folks who swear often do in fact know words with more than four letters. They just like four-letter words better.
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