Exploring Taboos in Other Languages

Exploring Taboos in Other Languages
Please follow all steps carefully and fully.
Step 1: Arrange to meet with five native speakers of a language other than English; you may meet with them one at a time or as a group (the latter being preferable).
–  All subjects should speak the same native language, e.g. all Japanese speakers
–  These subjects should not be enrolled in HUM 15; they should not have been the ?subject of any prior homework assignment
–  You should not choose a language with which you are familiar (i.e. a language that ?you speak, that is spoken by your family or close

friends, or that you have studied)
–  Suggestions: contact the International House or a student association
Step 2: Record pertinent information about your subjects. This should include:
–  Age, gender
–  Native language
–  Proficiency in English (“how well they feel they speak English”)
–  Length of residence in the US (or other English-speaking country) and reason(s) for living in the US ?As always, take appropriate steps to

protect your subjects’ privacy and anonymity. ?Step 3: Interview your subjects. Your goal is to learn about the forms and meanings in their native language that are

associated with two of the following four categories:
1.    Expletives: what words/expressions do speakers of this language shout at different ?occasions? What are the meanings (both literal and figurative) of these

words? What are ?their connotations and associations?
2.    Vulgarity & obscenity: what words/expressions are associated with vulgarity and/or ?obscenity in this language? Are particular topics or constellations of

topics considered vulgar and/or obscene? What are the meanings (both literal and figurative) of these words? What are their connotations and associations?
3.    Blasphemy & profanity: what words/expressions are associated with blasphemy or profanity in this language? How taboo is blasphemy and profanity in this

society? What are the meanings (both literal and figurative) of these words? What are their connotations and associations?
4.    Insults: what words/expressions do speakers of this language use to insult others? Are there particular insults that are considered more taboo than others?

What are the meanings (both literal and figurative) of these words? What are their connotations and associations?

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