Taboo book notice

… that is, a notice of a book on taboo language: The Oxford Handbook of Taboo Words and Language, ed. by Keith Allan, publisher’s site here.

Cover art: Namarrgon the Lightning Man (aboriginal rock art from Western Arnhemland); he comes to earth as a lightning strike and brings the fierce tropical storms in Western Arnhemland during the monsoon season (notable testicles are a common feature of representations of him)

Geographical digression from Wikipedia:

Arnhem Land is one of the five regions of the Northern Territory of Australia. It is located in the north-eastern corner of the territory and is around 500 km (310 mi) from the territory capital Darwin. The region has an area of 97,000 km2 (37,000 sq mi), which also covers the area of Kakadu National Park, and a population of 16,230. In 1623, Dutch East India Company captain William van Colster sailed into the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape Arnhem is named after his ship, the Arnhem, which itself was named after the city of Arnhem in the Netherlands.

The book: table of contents. Great stuff.

1. Taboo words and language: An overview, Keith Allan
2. Taboo language and impoliteness, Jonathan Culpeper
3. Taboos in speaking of sex and sexuality, Eliecer Crespo Fernandez
4. Speaking of disease and death, Reka Benczes and Kate Burridge
5. The psychology of expressing and interpreting linguistic taboos, Timothy B. Jay
6. Taboo language awareness in early childhood, Timothy B. Jay
7. Swearing and the brain, Shlomit Ritz Finkelstein
8. sticky: Taboo topics in deaf communities, Jami N. Fisher, Gene Mirus, and Donna Jo Napoli
9. Taboo terms and their grammar, Jack Hoeksema
10. Taboo as a driver of language change, Kate Burridge and Reka Benczes
11. Problems translating tabooed words from source to target language, Pedro J. Chamizo Dominguez
12. Linguistic taboos in a second or foreign language, Jean-Marc Dewaele
13. Philosophical investigations of the taboo of insult, Luvell Anderson
14. Religious and ideologically motivated taboos, Keith Allan
15. Speech or conduct? Law, censorship, and taboo language, Christopher Hutton
16. Taboo language in books, films, and the media, Gabriele Azzaro
17. Taboos and bad language in the mouths of politicians and in advertising, Toby Ralph and Barnaby Ralph
18. Taboo language used as banter, Elijah Wald
19. Taboo language as source of comedy, Barry J. Blake
20. An anthropological approach to taboo words and language, Stanley H. Brandes

A big (464 pages) volume, presumably worthy of the OUP imprint — but I haven’t seen it, and at $150 a pop never will (Keith Allan urges me to wait for the paperback edition, but I almost surely won’t be able to afford that either).

Several chapters in the volume are of special interest to me — #9 on syntax, for example, since I surveyed a bunch of relevant English constructions in a 12/27/17 posting “Expletive syntax: I will marry the crap out of you, Sean Spencer”, on grammatical constructions crucially involving fuck, shit, hell, etc. Jack Hoeksema has now made his OUP Taboo chapter #9 (which has a wider coverage, of course, than just English) available on his Groningen website, here.



One Response to “Taboo book notice”

  1. jensfiederer Says:

    You’d think THIS would be pretty safe on Facebook!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: