A comparative investigation of attitudes towards Taboo Language in English and Cantonese

by Tsang, Yuet-ling

Abstract (Summary)
(Uncorrected OCR) Abstract This thesis attempts to gain a deeper understanding of the people? attitudes towards taboo language in English and Cantonese. To achieve this aim, one film in English and one in Cantonese are analysed from the point of view of the use of taboo language. In addition, a survey was conducted in order to analyse the differences between the English and the Cantonese speaking worlds, as well as looking at how genders and occupations contribute to language attitudes. My findings suggest that attitudes towards taboo language vary according to cultural background, gender and occupation. These variations relate to (i) the different ratings of the given taboo words, (ii) the choice of the most offensive area of taboo language, (iii) the most frequently used taboo language area, (iv) the perceptions of acceptability of taboo language use according to gender, (v) views on the censorship of the abusive language in the mass media, (vi) the use of English verbal taboos in the Cantonese community. Furthermore, the thesis extends our understanding of the new trend in our present i society. More and more female English and Cantonese speakers are using taboo language than in the past. Also, some taboo language is in the process of losing its ?abooness? this can be observed in the relative loss of the taboo quality of religious taboo words in the English speaking world and the reduction of tabooness in some Cantonese words like ^E (death) and tft#(coffin). ii
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Hong Kong

School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:taboo linguistic english language obscene words slang cantonese dialects china hong kong


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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