Swearing Is Good for You
A review of

Swearing Is Good for You

The Amazing Science of Bad Language

Emma ByrneW.W. Norton • 2018

Cursing Rules

by David Meyer

Science writer Emma Byrne dissects the joys and catharsis of cursing, complete with scientific, cultural and evolutionary justifications for having a dirty mouth.

In this entertaining and profanity-riddled work, roboticist and science writer Emma Byrne – who contributes to Sky News and the BBC – explores the origins, history and power of swearing. She outlines how linguists, neuroscientists and sociologists investigate profanity, along with swearing’s role in the human experience. Byrne notes swearing’s ability to reinforce bonding and alleviate physical and psychological pain, and the differences in cursing behavior across gender and species divides. She emphasizes that, for better or for worse, swearing’s emotional resonance gives it power. If salty language offends you, best to avoid this f*cking book.

The Guardian called Byrne’s book “entertaining and informative.” And, as either a warning or an endorsement, The Scotsman found that “throughout the book, Byrne is an enthusiastic swearer.” The Sydney Morning Herald wrote, “Byrne…likes a good swear, relishes her subject…is playfully astute, and…gives swearing the respect it f*cking deserves.”

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