An interesting read from the Opinion section of the New York Times on cussing and why we do it. The piece is a collection of six short articles by educated – or educating (four of them are university professors) – people explaining “Why Do Educated People Use Bad Words?”
People need special words to convey emotion, which is, by nature, ineffable. For those who use them, swear words are linked to emotion in a visceral way. People who speak more than one language report that they always curse in their native tongue; they can say swear words in a second language but they don’t feel them — the gut link to emotions just isn’t there.