Profanity Amongst Undergraduate Students

Jesus Nocelotl, Fernanda Madrazo

For most people, college can be a difficult and exciting journey within one’s life. The new experience of living on your own, independence and responsibility of forming your own decisions, and for many, the chance to make and begin new meaningful friendships. Oftentimes, in communities that foster a sense of group identity and culture, such as college, and especially for young adults, the formation of friendships and relationships starts with interaction and language between individuals. Language is an essential aspect of our everyday lives, proven to be an effective way of communicating with others and a tool for forming relationships through shared experiences and identity.

The importance of social interactions in a college aged environment is of great significance, as many young adults see college as a new chapter within their life and an opportunity to form new bonds. Especially in the age of social media, college students often resort and feel the need for social and group identities to create friendships. One of the most commonly observed uses of language in college environments is the use of profanity to communicate between individuals. Profanity is commonly used in conversation as a measure to emphasize meaning, common slang, or a sense of group identity. For our group’s research project, undergraduate students and their prevalent use of expressing profanity in active conversation was used to analyze deeper meanings between language and social identity. Throughout our findings, we observed the most commonly used phrases and made relevant connections to age, group identity, and especially gender identity, to support and provide deeper meaning to the importance of language, young adult life, and college environment.

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