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Factory floor expletives

Factory floor expletives

There are research papers that change the course of history and there are those that form a tiny cog in a bigger wheel, but there'll always be a few that'll just blow you out of the water - through utter stupidity.

During the eighties, the British Board of Film Censors gave its classification system an overhaul and the X certificate was replaced with the now common 18 certificate. In addition to graphic scenes of sex and violence, these films may also contain some explicit sexual language; so you've been warned. But no one ever warns you about scientific papers do they?

Well in the absence of such certification, Null would like to warn all readers that the following article may contain language that will shock and offend, so if you are put off by such expletives we suggest you return to the homepage and maybe have a go at the caption competition instead.

For those of you intrigued enough to continue reading, we wish to assure you that this is a REAL study, carried out by REAL scientists and not a f*cking joke.

Nearly all people swear at some point in their lives; some of us more than others. Anyone that claims they get through life without the odd verbal outburst is either lying or a complete saint. To this end, scientists in New Zealand began a study focusing on acts of complaint and refusal. Their chosen social context was the factory floor and they wanted to test the concept of the 'face threatening act' (or in English - 'a refusal or unwillingness to do something'). This derives from Politeness Theory; a premise that was first proposed in 1978 which provides a framework for the analysis of discourse and speech.



On the factory floor the most common expletive used in association with an expression of unwillingness was the word fuck. Despite being considered an offensive term, it is highly transferable in the context of modern everyday conversation. The Journal of Pragmatics describes how fuck has many different meanings, for example to have intercourse (those cows are fucking); to ruin (those cows are going to charge, now we're fucked); an attention-grabbing particle (fuck, look at the size of that cow); an insult (fuck off cow) and an intensifier (that's a fucking ugly cow).

Researchers spent days on end walking around this factory with a tape recorder listening to people whinge about life, moan about their line manager and refusing to do extra shifts - all in the name of science.

The main conclusion of the study was that "politeness is a complex concept and one which is culturally very slippery" (what???). Anyway the outcome of all this appears to be a mere confirmation that fuck occurs frequently in certain contexts and serves a wide range of functions. So a complete fucking waste of time then.


If you managed to cope with that, try these:


Straight - Learn to talk proper
Spoof - Find out what those scientific terms really mean
Straight - Go vegan because cows will kill the planet




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29 Apr 2010
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