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Nurliyana and Shamala (2014) claims that in Malaysia, swearing has become a norm amongst teenagers even if the culture generally frowns upon swearing. I also think the same situation is occurring in Brunei as well and is not only amongst adolescents but including those older than them. Therefore my research is focusing on students studying specifically in Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). So my research questions are: if gender has any effect on one’s tendency to swear and if the language students find offensive depends on their gender.
Anderson and Trudgill (1990) defines swearing as a taboo to the culture, words where one should not read in between the lines as well as a mechanism to express strong attitudes and emotions. Although swearing is now common in the present society, it is still seen as offensive behavior. According to Cuss Control Academy in United States they emphasize on the fact that swearing denotes a bad personality of an individual and may cause damage to the English language. Also, Swearers does not feel worried if they swear amongst friends as they would normally accept it. As time passes, politeness is not always the standard and speakers will also learn that rudeness is permitted according to its situation thus swearing might be accepted in given circumstances where they may be seen as impolite or polite.
To examine the perception of UBD students towards expletives in Brunei Malay and English, a quantitative method research design and data collection have been made possible by using a questionnaire survey. A total of seven questions, varying from MCQ to open-ended questions, were asked which excludes demographic questions.
There are 50 participants involved in the study and are all UBD students, 74% of them are female and the remaining 26% are male. The participators in the 18 – 22 age group are the batch that have been recorded the most in the questionnaire.
The findings show chi-square tests has been used for the first and second research question. Also, considering the input values are far too small to be calculated on Microsoft Excel hence it is calculated online on a website quantpsy.org for easier calculation of Yates’ chi-square and p-value.
Most seem to agree that swearing in Brunei Malay is much more disrespectful in general. According to the participants as well, the constant response received from them is that Brunei Malay is their mother tongue and if derogatory words are uttered using their native language is said to be more insulting. Furthermore, they explained if expletives in English are considered to be a norm because of the existence of Social media. Schippers (2013) state that numerous swear words occur in shows with little censorship.. In her paper Schipper explained further that swearing in English is desensitized to a point where the word ‘fuck’ is a common word in American and British English and it is so influential it has spread to other parts of the world. From this statement, I believe so as 18% of the participators’ answers when asked of their go-to swear word is the expletive ‘fuck’or a Malay equivalent of it might be the word ‘paloi’ in which noted to be about 8% of the received answers.
To summarize, the findings I have obtained shows that most UBD students swear on a daily basis does not depend on gender. Even so, the values calculated are not enough to represent the whole population of UBD students. To add, the amount of female to male is not equal therefore the data leans more towards the female population than of the male. Not only that, further in depth research needs to be made on this topic. Also, there is no significant difference between opinions of females and males about whether Brunei Malay or English is disrespectful.
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