Adolescents and preteens are swearing more publicly than ever – especially at school, experts say.
It's conversational swearing – in the hallways and in the classroom – that is on the rise, says Timothy Jay, one of the leading scholars on cursing in the United States.
Teens are more likely to drop casual expletives, or "fillers," than the generation before them and have more trouble adjusting their conversation to fit their audience. That means adults – especially strangers who cannot sanction the teens – hear more of the same language that the teens' friends hear, says Jay, author of "Why We Curse" (John Benjamins, $35, 328 pages) and "Cursing in America" (John Benjamins, $66, 272 pages).
He estimates that the average adolescent uses roughly 80 to 90 swear words a day.
So he's saying that kids aren't smart enough to know when they should and shouldn't cuss? I'm not so sure. I'm more inclined to believe that they have less impulse control--because too many haven't had to demonstrate any impulse control. I doubt it's asking too much for students to know that they shouldn't be dropping f-bombs at school.
I strongly agreed with one statement from the article:
"One of the consequences of excessive swearing is the inability to articulate," Forni says. "The profanities are the fillers. They take the place of a more sophisticated way of speaking."
As with all things, there's a right way and a wrong way, and an appropriate time and place.