The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television

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Penguin Books Limited, Sep 4, 2008 - Science - 96 pages
7 Reviews

Why do so many swear words involve sex, bodily functions and religion? Why are some words rude and others aren't? Why can launching into expletives be so shocking - and sometimes so amusing?

Steven Pinker takes us on a fascinating and funny journey through the world of profanities, taken from his bestselling The Stuff of Thought, to show us why we swear (whatever our language or culture), how taboos change and how we use obscenities in different ways. You'll discover that in Québecois French the expression 'Tabernacle' is outrageous, that the Middle Ages were littered with four-letter words, that 'scumbag' has a very unsavoury origin and that in a certain Aboriginal language every word is filthy when spoken in front of your mother-in-law.

Covering everything from free speech to Tourette's, from pottymouthed celebrities to poetry, this book reveals what swearing tells us about how our minds work. (It's also a bloody good read).

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Review: The Seven Words You Can't Say On Television

User Review  - Annie - Goodreads

Easy introduction into neurolinguistic and psycholinguistic studies, written in an approachable tone turning it much less academic than it seems to be. Humorous and while there are some technicalities that are a bit trying, the overall content is very easy to understand. Read full review

Review: The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television

User Review  - Dedwarmo - Goodreads

On 2014-02-16 it was not available for Kindle. Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the 'New York Times', 'Time' and 'Slate', and is the author of six books, including 'The Language Instinct', 'How the Mind Works' and 'The Blank Slate'.

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