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Why are BAD Words %$&#@!?

I recently stumbled across the following video and was fascinated with some of the statistics presented in the first few minutes (does your community swear more than others? Looking at you Ohio!).  But the entire video is equally fascinating.  I’ve never been bothered by what others consider offensive language.  They’re just words afterall… or are they?  When civility is key to a successful dialogue, understanding the language of incivility becomes a necessary skill in every facilitator’s toolkit.

Michael, in the video above, mentions a lecture given by experimental psychologist Steven Pinker, also available on YouTube. It’s headier stuff than the Vsauce video, but worth a watch for those interested in the pschology of language. Pinker defines swearing as a window to a person’s emotions, and examines language as a window into human nature.

I would love to hear about how our community deals with “bad words”? Are they discouraged (or even forbidden) in your engagement processess? Or have you learned to work with them in a way that avoids disruption? Or are they even encouraged? Leave a comment and let us know!

Andy Fluke
Andy Fluke is the co-founder of NCDD and currently provides creative support to many of NCDD's publications and events. He also works with a handful of other NCDD members on a variety of projects as consultant and designer. More about his work can be found at www.andyfluke.com.

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