Swearing is how humans bark. It’s a way of showing other people that you’re hurt, frightened or angry. Men normally swear more than women possibly because they get more hurt, frightened and angry. Or possibly because they’re just a load of f****** a*******s.
Swear words can be categorised into various levels of badness. Really bad Grade 1 swear words all have a k sound, at the front, the middle or at the back. The exception to this is ‘knickers’ which despite having two k sounds, you can just about get away with in polite company.
Grade 2 swear words end with a T. Prat, nit, twit and twat come in this category along with idiot. Grade 3 swearing often features unfashionable women’s names with a slapstick addition such as Flipping Nora or Sodding Ada.
The Captain Haddock school of swearing combines unusual and expressive words such as Billions of Blistering Barnacles. These words generally start with an explosive letter such as B or P so you can physically let off steam with them.
Triptychs are very popular in swearing (in fact you can use ‘triptych’ as a swear word in the Haddock category). A fairly innocuous triptych would be ‘great steaming idiot’. However, most follow the usual pattern of ‘stupid’, grade 1, grade 1 with the middle word inevitably being the f word.
British swearing tend to focus on the genitals. To call someone the vernacular of pudenda is just about the worst thing you can do (not literally - you could call your local vicar the ‘vernacular of pudenda’ and they’d probably think they’d been promoted.)
However in Latin countries swearing concentrates on mothers, whores and illegitimacy. Slavs bring animals into swearing, noticeably goats and bulls. Only animals with sexual connotations get harnessed to swearing. You don’t cut much ice calling someone a coypu.
The unique contribution of Anglo-Saxon to swearing is the emphasis on self-abuse principally the Grade 1 w***** or Grade 2 tosser. In the United States this has been developed into jerk and jerk-off. Beef jerkie however is something you eat and doesn’t carry much weight as abuse.
Some people swear all the time with every other word being the f word. Often this is because if you removed all the f words, the remaining sentences would be embarrassingly short. The f word used to be terribly shocking but now is little more than a comma in conversation. It indicates to the listener that you’re moving from one f****** topic to another f****** topic.
Occasionally the f word recovers some of its former power when it is used by someone who has never been heard to use it before. For example a couple dropped into the Queen’s speech would probably get the nation’s attention.