Volume 44, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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Although swearing is often perceived as intrinsically offensive language, it is how swearing use is indexed against a person’s understanding of local social norms that constructs swearing as offensive. This paper presents an analysis of swearing within a social context where high frequency swearing is a norm: a male rugby team in New Zealand. Drawing upon a dataset collected from ethnographically collected authentic interactions, an analysis of the frequency of swear words and a comparison with other English corpora is presented, followed by an interactional sociolinguistic analysis of how swearing is used in interactions. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate not only how swearing can be used to engender solidarity, but that a range of socio-pragmatic functions of swearing such as intensifying and indexing a vernacular identity, can be used in performing leadership.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): corpus linguistics; New Zealand English; sociopragmatics; sport; swearing
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