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When students only have read a few poems, in exclusively academic contexts, they often approach poetry with what the li...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Profanity is Deictic

In reference to Benveniste's "The Nature of the Linguistic Sign." The use of taboo words of any sort expresses the attitude of the speaker, the "I" of the sentence, whether or not this I speaks in 1st person. To exclaim "¡madre de dios!" or "joder, macho" is to talk about one's self, to situate one's self deictically. Benveniste does not mention "swear words" in his essay, but they illustrate his point. Another class of profanity is directed directly at a you.

Thus I link this morning's class to this afternoon's.

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