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The Oxford Handbook of Taboo Words and Language, Hardback Book


This volume brings together experts from a wide range of disciplines to define and describe tabooed words and language and to investigate the reasons and beliefs behind them.

In general, taboo is defined as a proscription of behaviour for a specific community, time, and context.

In terms of language, taboo applies to instances of language behaviour: the use of certain words in certain contexts.

The existence of linguistic taboos and their management lead to thecensoring of behaviour and, as a consequence, to language change and development. Chapters in this volume explore the multiple types of tabooed language from a variety of perspectives, such as sociolinguistics, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, historical linguistics, and neurolinguistics, and with reference to fields such as law, publishing, politics, and advertising.

Topics covered include impoliteness, swearing, censorship, taboo in deaf communities, translation of tabooed words, and the use of taboo in banter and comedy.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Philosophy of language
  • ISBN: 9780198808190


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