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The Science of Swearing


Benjamin Bergen is a cognitive scientist and he loves swearing. He actually studies it for a living. In a fascinating new book, Bergen examines why we use swear words, why they’re so powerful, and how they work in our language and on our minds.  Swearing, he says, can be useful, funny, and cathartic. It also helps us express the strongest human emotions. Doug spoke with Bergen earlier this week, and Thursday we’re airing that conversation. But don’t worry: we’ve bleeped all the swear words.

Benjamin Bergen is a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Language and Cognition Laboratory. His new book is called What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves [Amazon|Indiebound].