Steven Pinker - The Language of Swearing (1/2)

Full talk available at:
"The Science Reader"


The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature
with psychologist Steven Pinker
September 10, 2008
Run Time: 1 hours 02 minutes

Filmed at Warwick's in La Jolla, California.

In The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, Pinker explores how the mind works by examining the way we use words. By looking closely at everyday speech, he paints a vivid picture of the thoughts and emotions that populate our mental lives.

Steven Pinker is Harvard College Professor and 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 seven books...

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Автор Billy Arabia ( назад)
Vsauce brought me here..

Автор Jay Flippen ( назад)
Way to forget your adverbs, U.S. senate.

After doing the Stroop test in front of my Psych recitation class, my
Psychology teaching assistant said she had never heard anyone do the Stroop
test as fast as me. (Yes, this is a boast to nobody on Youtube.) However,
the process of imprinting with words, reading them, and registering them is
slightly more complex than a uniform intake (as eye movement could be
altered from normal modes in the Stroop test [directional movement and
focus] ).

Автор zooblestyx ( назад)
Science, motherfuckers.

Автор rusmalbel ( назад)
the meaning of OBSCENE, (State) SHIP and other social communities such as
ARK (and not naval sci-fi transportation means as Noah's one).
Swear you loyalty to our Community by pronouncing this OATH -
DAMN IT - (reversing, taking it back from the very sources of the western
education - from the arabs and semites, FROM THE LEFTWARD to
roman-german-RUM-russian right way - TY - NOMAD (you're the Nomade or
Dirty words are the COMMUNITY PATTERN, the trespassing the breaking away
from general ALIEN (brought and imposed) 'faith'.
Those words are 'tribal signs', they are HIGHLY OFFENSIVE (unknown and
falsly explained for outsiders) and OBSCENE (generalised, as the common
knowledge) - due to the practices envolved inside a community (which were
the way of life in Europe and East 500-1000 years ago). They were suppresed
banned and OUT-LAWed by the GREATER COMMNUTIES turned into Kingdoms
Sultanats Republics Zarstvo Empires States and even between the new greater
rivals - christians and muslims. The muslims call the christian NOT
BELIEVERS - the in-fidels (not followin the FIDE-FEDE-FAITH - the FATHER's
Now the reigning curse against the out-laws is CHRIST DAMN IT HOLLY COW GOD
which are not the known modern INSCRIBED INTO dictionaries definitions but
hte SAME SOUNDING OLDER HOLY NAMES. like GOD - reversed from Roman to
Oriental, at the left it gives DOG means KUCH KUJ the name of the God for
the Zoroasters preIslamic 'muslims'. MUSLIM is a FREE MAN. Ilslan - is from
another story. the less the citizens know about the imposed ennemies of the
Religious and Financial State - the better and easily the governers rule
the state 'ship'.
the 2 woeds wouldn't be recognised never inside the English recently
written-fake language. the OBSCENE and (state) SHIP.
They are both served as the COM-MUNITY, 'we-the free people' as russian
'Obscina' and the popular call of it as SHIP 'korabl'.
Those forms of social living together HAVE BECOME the very problem for the
absolute monarchies of the 16, 17, 18, 19 centuries. The secret special
repressive committees were organised at the Home offices and Ministry of
the Interiors. The REBELS as the new Rulers started to call the spiritual
descendants. They raided the communities they killed the memberes, they
rewrote the events they lied for some centuries IN THEIR 'official state
documents' killing the numerous populated communities taking their
properties etc.
A SECRET WAR on rebels. We now can witness the scale of anti-terrorist
operation. What's on the surface is a fake and engineered, lied and
misinterpreted to the 'civilised dumb ill concerned enslaved LAW-ABIEDING
public, but the war against the FREE WAY OF LIFE - away from the PARASITES
of other races and origins self imposed by the mercenary armies - has never
been stopped.
ARK or REICH REX publica REC pospolita and multiple RUS'-countries united
under the name of RUSS-IA, or the country of many RUSSes (the corruption of
OLOS ALASKA known as RAK or RAC, 'wisely' explained as
Russian-American-Compagny - in a yiddish way).
ARK, RAC or OBSCINA (in thieves jargon OBSCIAK) means 'MONEY'.
RAKUSKA and all the earth talks for word 'SHELL' have a meaning of 'MONEY',
wisely mocked in paid engaged 'literature'. That's how the WORD is deprived
fromits inner sense and meaning - by the romans novels 'literary'
activities.The word LITERA besides widely known the letter definition used
to have another shameful meaning of a MERCENARY, PAID-UP, FALSE, POOR, a
TRAMP. But you hardly will know NEVER HEAR that in a civilised bookish
sterile LITERATE world.

No wonder that the emperors such Katherine the Great and ruling princes of
England have supervised the Dictionary's editions. it's a STATE MATTER, the
'mother' of the State. The in-STITU-tional matter. The horse, the Horus,
the Sun, the KRES, the CROSS, the STUTE, the STEED ... the BACH BYCK BOH
BOG PAGA pagan ...The words do change their 'dictionary definitions'
crossing the borders, the recently fixed borders, keeping apart the
'RACes', maintaining the discords and miscontent in a LEARNED FASHION.

Автор rusmalbel ( назад)
The verb SWEAR is like the french verb JURER. Not double faced but double
'lied about'. Its first legal domaine is evident and ineradicable.
Perjure - a perjury, Injure - an injury, conjure - a conjury etc.
There were two times for that DUAL verb, ressurected after its legal death
by grammatical murder in a very handicapped but still taboo form (when
paper and 'legal' documents, claiming bluntly A NEWLY invented HOLY RIGHT
TO OWN THE LAND and THE PEOPLE, and other freedoms and trade priviliges
appeared) -
Firstly was verb 'SWEAR' of the OATHES and ORAL TREATY AGREEMENTS.
and then came a holy reinvented 'rebaptised' verb 'SWEAR' of the blue juicy
offensive talkings, sort of 'decay' OFFICIALLY FORBIDDEN in a new LATIN
written LEGAL language. Ridiculed and mocked by every possible mean ... A
jewel of the underworld jargons rotwelsh ladino schmontzes fenja yiddish
!!! and other jewish quasi lingvas.
About 34 alias callings for FECES - was the promise before witnesses TO EAT
IT if the deal is broken. The bodily curse was to be laid for the deal's
No paper shit, sorry, sheets. No seal, no attorney's fee, no clercs.
The word CLERC is very CHRISTIAN and HOLY, because is still CLERIC and
CLERICAL, both banned in English land and langu-Age and replaced by
Which is far more mystical but it helps to disqualify-withdraw the holiness
from the CLERC. The first banks were run by the CLERGY, only 'ministers of
the faith', the DUHOVNIKS or DUCE or DUX were allowed to handle the money.
They were not allowed to inherit nor to have heirs of their own. Their
title and wealth were to pass on the sibling's progeniture. That's still
the custom for the Cardinals Bishops and Pope in Roman Church.
the wording is revealing Ed-Uca-Tion. simple=symbolic=simulation of the
Ot-Uche-jsia. Learning a NEW TEACHING instead of the banned one.
Re-Education in modern terms. Used as forceful reformation in prisons.
We seem not to be concerned about the facts that 2 major State positions
were formerly held by the Holy People -
the ministers - nowadays MInistry (remembered by the Alexandre Dumas'
cardinal Richelieu the first minister for the King Louis, another cardinal
who came after but always holding the SOLE MINISTERIAL POST);
and clercs to handle the money loans investments - nowadays Clergy
disposessed from their first function HANDLE the PUBLIC TAX MONEY.
The year 1700 seems to be a very special year - the Church people around
the European Kingdoms and Monarchies were dispossessed from their USUAL
State posts, they were ridiculed in romans, pamphlets, papers and the
PremierShip was introduced and the monks were drawn out of the Banking.
THE JEWISH usurer-moneylender-loan shark-scrivener-gombeen-man took their
place, the holy man replaced by an 'atheist', a crook, a maffia-man - on
his majesty's service of course, that's why the english monarchs are still
superficial but still a feature of the Great Britain.
In 1790es they were eradicated in France. In 1905 the State was divided
from the Christian Church and now France is held only by the Synagogue.
Look at the their presidency and government - only jews and other not

Автор Professor Fennec ( назад)
+Ellie Horne

This may explain things for you at 7:26.

Автор Ch L ( назад)
tits is a swear word? who knew

Автор Ch L ( назад)
Those who are offended by swearing, are invariably petty in nature.

Автор Lucas Thomas (1909 лет назад)


Автор Arif Williams ( назад)

Автор josefvickers ( назад)
Bono is such a fucking cunt.

Автор Craig Browning ( назад)
HR 3687 left out "Tits."

Автор Armuotas ( назад)
Here's an observation: I can swear quite easily in English around other
people that understand English. I don't feel any discomfort or shame.
However, I have a slight hesitation when I want to use "bad" words from my
past (mostly Russian) even though people might not even understand them. My
guess is that word is "bad" ONLY if you believe it is bad and enforce it.
That belief comes from education, experience, orders.

Автор Cunnilingus ( назад)
I so needed to hear Steven Pinker swear a bunch. I feel so satisfied.

Автор Bombtrack411 ( назад)
It's ok. Sepero1 was just being sarcastic.

Автор LightlessDimension ( назад)
In Québec, we say ''TABARNAK''.

Автор Peter Hartman ( назад)
Where can I find part 2?

Автор robu2358 ( назад)
I can only speak for my U.S. perception, but "bloody" is not a strong swear
word for Americans. We have a sense that it's stronger in the U.K.(and the
"British-English" world into which we ignorantly lump Aus), but it makes us
chuckle when someone is scolded for saying "bloody". If an American says
bloody, I think they're trying to sound British. Fuck, on the other hand,
is still strong though it's open use has proliferated in film. "Damn" was
stronger and is now common network TV. Fuck is not.

Автор mattyoungrev3 ( назад)
Wow this is as funny as and more interesting than Carlin's bit 

Автор robertwc82 ( назад)
its a social construct. there was no such thing as swear words before the
Victorians came along. words may be percieved as offensive, but what those
words are are subjective. i find the word "the" disgusting and offensive so
should everyone be obliged not to say it?

Автор Ste Frost ( назад)
LMAO @ the adverb comment I agree with everything he has said so far, but I
don't believe that people are always revolted by sexual words, because of
long-winded associations. In some cases, for people who have been through
something perhaps, but I think he misses a point; that sexuality and nudity
etc - even when consensual and enjoyable - are demonised by religions and
we are taught that sex is wrong and dirty, even when it isn't. 

Автор Rosemary Lyndall Wemm ( назад)
Bloody may no longer be a real swear word in Australia but it is not well
received in the U.S. In reverse, fuck is not a particularly bad work in
modern day U.S.A. but is considerably more offensive in Australia. As
Pinker points out, different communities use different swear words. There
are strong cultural differences. The conventions of swearing are among
those that are among the most difficult things for migrants, visitors and
tourists to grasp. 

Автор SuperDynamic CookingTime ( назад)
Bloody....? It has not been a Swear/Taboo word in Australia for a very long
time...and since when is Snot a negative word? 

Автор jeffersonianideal ( назад)
Much appreciated.

Автор Anti-Meta Man ( назад)

Автор Sage Mantis ( назад)

Автор Gordon Freeman ( назад)
he said fucking!!! hahahahha .. immature lady

Автор luis39205 (784 года назад)
On the stroop test, I sped up on the swear words...uh oh.

Автор luis39205 (1129 лет назад)
They may just be neurotic or possibly psychotic, they're the fellas at the
freakin' FCC (8)

Автор jeffersonianideal ( назад)
"It's the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence,
the viciousness." -Lenny Bruce

Автор TheEthanwashere ( назад)
Christopher Hitchens had no linguistically merits, he was a fucking

Автор TheEthanwashere ( назад)
Again all this does is confirmed what I was saying, it's idiotic notions of
purity and disgust which lead to those feelings... Idiotic cultural
conservatives. None of these evoke negative emotions in me

Автор TheEthanwashere ( назад)
A couple minutes in, fuck people who have a problem with cursing.... All
based on christian notions of purity which say you should hate your body-
go fuck yourselves assholes!

Автор stumpdawg251 (105 лет назад)
Wow, it hurts me to see this ignorance, but I accept that it is rampant and
text does not always translate the intent of the writer, therefore we will
never be totally free from these misunderstandings. That was a spoof of
your last sentence, in case you do not understand those either.

Автор 7Deadly5ins (1282 года назад)
You are someone who does not understand sarcasm.

Автор gnargnar211 (430 лет назад)

Автор notJoeKing1776 ( назад)
*You're* missing the sarcasm...

Автор Ronald Robertson ( назад)
Your such an ass. If you had listened to the context of his using the N
BOMB you would realize that he is anything but a flagrant racist but you
obviously are already a hater and thus you heard what you wanted to hear.
It hurts me to see the hurt and hatred of minorities and I accept that
racism is rampant and that none of us are totally free from its' effects.

Автор MomSaysImCool ( назад)

Автор VitalyMack ( назад)
Treat topic and speech, though I wish he would have gone into why there is
a segment of the population who is not offended by swearing and how they
differ psychologically.

Автор yoohootube ( назад)
It's really rather pathetic that these adults are giggling and tittering at
swear words being read aloud like a bunch of schoolchildren.

Автор i2v2s (1188 лет назад)
To understand human behavior people must read Verbal Behavior and other
scientific documents of B.F. Skinner and avoid superstitious nonsense added
to the observations Pinker makes.

Автор i2v2s (1215 лет назад)
It is more complicated then that, but Verbal Behavior explains language and
although Pinker is more entertaining and reinforces more cultural
assumptions then science, he will never understand language. He will never
understand behavior is relative and meaning means nothing. Words are sounds
and they have effects based on our learning. 

Автор i2v2s (1306 лет назад)
All is behavior and the rest is naught. Our culture conditions ignorant
behavior time and time again, but language is just Verbal Behavior. People
articulate sounds, which form words that perpetuate consequences. Many
people learn to speak, they have unique experiences with every sound they
make and each utterance has unique consequences and this has a unique
cumulative effect, which shapes verbal behavior. Words are only taboo
because of the consequences (natural selection). 

Автор Iznaga1420 ( назад)
@tomsega Your reasoning is fuck.

Автор firebreathone3 ( назад)
Such a brilliant guy!

Автор Jestlow ( назад)
I had a much easier time identifying the correct color of the cuss words
that I did when the colors were the wrong colors.

Автор ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( назад)
@TheSuperFungus I would think it is partly a coping mechanism, an attempt
to claim a power or right that is denied to outsiders. Self-derision can
produce a wry humor and a camaraderie among a group that shares the trait.
I suspect "nigger" is also often intended to provoke negative emotion as a
means of pumping people up into a bloodlust, making the audience feel
powerful emotions that breach habitual politeness and alerting the audience
to impending violence.

Автор Zachary Rose (Der Fuhrer's Werwolf) ( назад)
Pinker is a genius. He has so much knowledge to share it's incredible.

Автор MrPrankmastergeneral ( назад)
@UtopiaMinor666 I am disgusted! Just kiddin' !

Автор GhettoBoi619 ( назад)
@AlimeProductions dont forget about george carlin

Автор UtopiaMinor666 ( назад)
FUCK THE FCC i hate those assholes! 

Автор deathlogic1 ( назад)
i am a fan of swearing for the simply reason that we as people give means
to the words we use. that brings me to the question, why are there taboo
words? what make them taboo the first place? over time, the meaning of
words changes and as we use "taboo" words, they become desensitized and
deluded, giving it a different meaning all together. 

Автор somethingness ( назад)
Listening to this talk was like drinking from a cursed chalice.

Автор razrx33 ( назад)
Is the Stroop Test supposed to work for everyone? Because that was really
easy... I don't think it was any harder to read any of the 3 lists. Honest

Автор Rammbock ( назад)
@christo930 haha.... yap!

Автор Teresa Fawkes ( назад)
@cnestudy1 I'm a female, and you're obviously a rocket surgeon.

Автор Teresa Fawkes ( назад)
@cnestudy1 So if college professors discuss why people use bad language,
and examine specific bad words, they are racists. But if you call everyone
within a certain race and gender a bad name, it's because you are awesome?
Wow. Good luck with life, you're going to need it.

Автор Maura Coleman ( назад)
i like to swear...boob damn fart...there told you so....btw i kill niggers
by the truckload

Автор Teresa Fawkes ( назад)
@cnestudy1 This from someone who posts comments like "white girls are
bitches." LOL

Автор Teresa Fawkes ( назад)
@cnestudy1 In what way?

Автор howzitman ( назад)
@IggyHazard Easier said than done, takes a bit of practice. 

Автор GohModley ( назад)
How about "Jesus Titty-Fucking Christ!"

Автор Sepero1 ( назад)
He's white and said "nigger", therefore he must be racist.

Автор beforeiknow ( назад)
cool, so that's Harvard!

Автор J Bowers ( назад)
@EpigeneticEngineer Tell me more about these private philanthropic

Автор J Bowers ( назад)
@kuapo Hey. Thank you. That was well said. I often try to explain this to
people but have gotten lost in translation, Your articulation is clear and
concise. I will share it. 

Автор Christheatheist1 ( назад)
Pinker is fucking brilliant!

Автор Skindoggiedog ( назад)
Interesting stuff, but I can't stand the way this guy speaks.

Автор christo930 ( назад)
@christo930 Pretty much any research can be justified, especially to
increase knowledge about man and how our brains work, but the bigger
questions should be answered first and there are ethical questions about
who should pay for it. Universities are able to run huge research programs
because the gov allows kids to bid up the cost of education when technology
and economies of scale should be driving the cost DOWN!

Автор christo930 ( назад)
@christo930 Pretty much any research can be justified, especially to
increase knowledge about man and how our brains work, but the bigger
questions should be answered first and there are ethical questions about
who should pay for it. Universities are able to run huge research programs
because the gov allows kids to bid up the cost of education when technology
and economies of scale should be driving the cost DOWN!

Автор christo930 ( назад)
@Aletheophile My nephew is in state college and it is costing 25k a year. I
went to college a long time ago, so I am using his costs. State college
isn't exactly Ivy League, so 25k isn't a real high estimate. This research
should be paid for, if at all, by psychiatric hospitals, American
psychiatric association and other groups and trade groups that benefit from
language research. Given the current state of psychiatric treatment, I
would say there is more important research to be done.

Автор christo930 ( назад)
@Aletheophile What can I tell you? If you don't mind going into debt for
100k to finance this stuff, you are kind of a lost cause. Have you even
bothered to calculate the amount of money these loans are actually going to
cost you? If research needs to be done, there are better and more efficient
ways to finance it than through our young people.

Автор newcoyote ( назад)
@christo930 Sorry your vision is so short.

Автор christo930 ( назад)
@newcoyote Without the gov co-signing his loans, nobody would ever lend him
10k, let alone 100k (and it will be more since he wants a masters). The
focus of our universities has gone from teaching to research and our kids
are paying for it with higher education costs and lower quality education.
So, NO, I don't think kids should be taking on 6 figure debts so this kind
of research can be funded on their money.

Автор christo930 ( назад)
@newcoyote This research is made possible only by the gov co-signing
student loans. I am far more concerned with students graduating from school
with a mortgage (and no house) to finance research that someone else ought
to be paying for. My nephew (for example) is paying 25k a year to attend a
state college and sits in lecture halls with 700 other students and is
going to graduate with 100k worth of debt to finance this stuff. If it's
important enough, they can get other funding sources.

Автор newcoyote ( назад)
@christo930...continued. I don't think you have any clue about research,
eduction or psychology. Referring to it as shit only demonstrates this. As
well asserting " no student would voluntarily support" is absurd. How do
you know? Pinker is world renowned and I'm pretty sure his students have a
good idea what they are paying for. 

Автор newcoyote ( назад)
@christo930 Well then you have not considered it on any more than a
superficial level then. Swearing is integral to our language our identity
and history. Are you suggesting swearing is NOT a form of communicating?
Things tie together in many ways we might not think of at first glace.
Understanding our nature and ALL aspects of it is crucial. Omitting an
integral faset because it is unsavory or financially questionable is
absurd. Continued...

Автор christo930 ( назад)
@newcoyote This isn't about any of that, it's about why humans curse. Not
to mention that no student would voluntarily support this research with
their tuition dollars. Kids are graduating from college many 10's of
thousands of dollars in debt to support this shit.

Автор newcoyote ( назад)
@christo930 Why? I'd really like to hear you substantiate that assertion.
Tell me why understanding how people communicate, learn and think is a
waste of money as you imply.

Автор christo930 ( назад)
This kind of idiotic research is what is driving the cost of education
through the roof.

Автор hammam0 ( назад)
Secretary : minister,there's someone here wants to see you. Minister : not
now love,im busy,fuck off...

Автор Thrashaero ( назад)
@NavinJohnson90 No shit. those mother fuckers. I can understand being
annoyed by it after a fuckin while, though. But when people just say fuck
or shit and others freak out like it's personally offensive, I say to them,
shut the fuck up and cry me a fucking river, pussy. I also find it funny
that the right-winger douchebag's biggest defense is if he ever catches you
swearing. Then he tries to derail the focus on his bullshit and whine about
your decency.

Автор OddBank ( назад)
stroop test was cool.

Автор AlexanderTheHair ( назад)
Lol same here navin :3

Автор NavinJohnson90 ( назад)
Aaaaaaggghhhhh stopppp my head is gonna explode!!!!!

Автор dollaresque ( назад)
@GARfredable Go kiss cow's cunt.

Автор NavinJohnson90 ( назад)
hahahaha George Carlin!! People who act like their ears bleed when they
hear swearwords make me just wanna shout FUCK at them all day.

Автор CarbonSuit ( назад)
those down ratings are very ironic considering the conclusions pinker
reaches in this talk.

Автор alex garcia ( назад)
liberal fucker

Автор steampunk18 ( назад)
Well, fuck you, too!

Автор Gilmaris ( назад)
What does that mean, anyway, "by inserting '(a)' before 'Whoever'"? Some
sort of legal language I'm not familiar with?

Автор nemesisnick66 ( назад)
fk teh fcc

Автор kionay ( назад)
yes well we all remember that and how as mother fucker is a derivitave of
fuck, it is condemed to be off THAT particular list however their exclusion
of the adverb is pretty funny in and of itself

Автор CamdenBloke ( назад)
Both spellings are correct.

Автор CamdenBloke ( назад)
I didn't slow down reading the colours of the swear words at all. For the
colours of the colour words however, I could only maintain any speed by
focusing on only the first letter of each word, but then the green coloured
green tripped me up.

Автор Cory Martin ( назад)
un-true, That theory has been proved wrong for a long time the "Fornication
Under Command of the King" that is, It actually comes from the german word
fricken which means 'to strike or attack'

Автор Cape noctem ( назад)
Lol at 2.08, that's class. I heard it before, saw him give a version of
this speech before. Though he never shows it, I sometimes wonder if Pinker
gets bored giving these talks and would prefer to spend his time writing.

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