The Darndest Things
While I wouldn’t want to condone the lazy use of swearing as casual adjectives or exposure of children to aggressive swearing, I would argue for the freeing up of taboo words within family communications.
When my youngest, Mery, was three, she made up her first joke: “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
Mery: “To poo on your head!”
Proudly, I marveled at Mery’s inventiveness and delighted in her cheeky scatological joy. Her understanding of how taboos work, and her willingness to experiment with words, suggest that my occasional slipped expletive has taught her the effectiveness and playfulness of language.
“Learning to swear is part of the process that establishes identity,” explains Dr. Stephens. “It fulfils many functions.”