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Frequent swearing linked to high intelligence, study finds

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Scientists seem quite confused as to which sex speaks the most, but one thing we do know for certain is that women are far more foulmouthed than men.

The f-word was used 546 times per million words among women, and 540 times among men, in 2014.

In the early 1990s, women said 's***' four times as often as men, but by 2014 they were saying it 10 times as often.

In stark comparison, data from the 1990s shows that men used the f-word 1,000 times per million words, but women only used it 167 times. So not only are women effing and blinding more often, but men have actually reined it in over the past two decades.

Almost 400 people recorded up to three hours of their daily conversations and sent them into researchers, in the first study of its kind.

According to one researcher invovled in the study, the idea that men and women should speak differently is well and truly in the past.

Professor Tony McEnery, research director of the Economic and Social Research Council, which sponsored the survey along with with Lancaster University and the Cambridge University Press, told the Sunday Times:

As equality drives on, the idea that there is male and female language, that there are things which men and women should or should not say, is going to be eroded . . . gentlemanly behaviour and ladylike language should become something of the past.

His theory? It’s all men’s fault:

It looks like there were a set of men who said it a lot in the early nineties, and they influenced the women to do it, and then it levelled down.

But there's good news for women, because swearing is actually a sign of verbal intelligence, according to research published in the journal Language Sciences.

Psychologists at the Marist College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts found that people who swear more might actually have stronger language skills.  

In what sounds like the most fun scientific experiment ever, they asked participants to reel off as many swearwords as they could in 60 seconds. Then, they were asked to calm down and do the same with a tamer subject, such as naming as many animals they could think of.

The people who listed the most swearwords also did better in the second task, which showed they had a higher vocabulary all round. They said prolific swearers have the ability to understand how to use different types of swear words effectively.

F***ing fantastic.


More: Every British swear word has been officially ranked in order of offensiveness

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