Gender differences in usage of bitch and cunt across time : An analysis of findings in the BNC1994 and the BNC2014

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Avdelningen för humaniora

Abstract: This essay presents a study on gender differences with a focus on swearing and taboo language, based on findings from the BNC1994 and the BNC2014. Bitch and cunt are two words that are linked to the female gender, but previous research has shown that they are used differently by men and women. The usage of the words differs in terms of frequency, but it has also been suggested that men and women tend to differ in the way they aim their usage of the words, whether the usage is directed toward men or women. The aim of the study is to analyse both corpora in order to find out how the usage of the words differs between men and women in different age categories, and how it has changed across time. Previous research on swearing, in connection to gender and age, is presented as well as a historical background of the words. The results show that the usage of bitch has increased but the usage of cunt has decreased. However, there are findings in the results that show that in addition to the change in frequency there has also been a change regarding how men and women tend to aim their usage of the words. Hopefully, the findings in this study could shed more light on the topic on gender differences and swearing.

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