Right around age two or three, children begin a unique window in their cognitive development wherein they become knowledge sponges, absorbing language and skills at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, this means that they pick up everything their exposed to, including swear words, long before they even learn their ABCs.
A new book titled Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing features an argument by author Mellissa Mohr that suggests most kids utter their first expletives before they learn their ABCs. Mohr blames parents and most other adults for this trend, saying that English-speakers casually use an expletive at least once every 140 words.
This, as Mohr points out, makes swear words as common as first person plural pronouns like “our,” “us,” and “we.”
But wait, there’s more.
Mohr’s tome also points out that children begin cursing around age three or four, and that roughly 0.7 percent of all English spoken words each day are swear words (that actually doesn’t sounds so bad).
Also, the middle class uses swear words less than the wealthy do. As Mohr puts it, the avoidance of curse words “indicates that you are a proper, good person and this is a sign of your morality and awareness of social rules.”
“Aristocrats have a secure position in society, so they can say whatever they want—and may even make a show of doing so,” she adds.
The reasons we curse are simple, usually. Swearing can be a valuable way to relieve us of pain (stubbing your toe, for instance) or helping us forge relationships with others (think complaining, et al).
Also, cursing is as old as the sandal. Romans used to insult people with expletives related to sexuality. Our most common expletives (sh*t, for instance) date back to Anglo-Saxons who spoke in Old English.
Do you swear? More importantly, do you have children who picked up the habit? Sound off!
[Image via: Gladskikh Tatiana, Shutterstock.com]