Gender and Swearing: A Community Practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies have shown that the gender-swearing relationship is more complex and context-specific than has been supposed. We adopted a 'communities of practice' framework to contextualize the linguistic practice of swearing and to explore the meanings of this practice for one particular 'community, ' a group of undergraduate drinking friends. Through members' accounts, we can observe their negotiation of specific linguistic categories, and their ongoing (re)definition of 'bad language' as a resource for identity construction. These findings provide insights into the ways in which gender itself becomes redefined and contextualized within particular frames of reference. Both female and male participants reported habitually deploying strong language in the context of shared group enterprises, although a number of subtle, yet persistent gender differences reflect the respondents' location within the wider sociocultural context(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-33
JournalWomen and Language
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2003


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