The Use of Strong Language in Peaky Blinders Television Series: A Gender Study

Rizky Femilya Elsa(1*)

(1) Universitas Negeri Medan
(*) Corresponding Author


Swearing has become a prevalent aspect of language use in modern society, but it remains taboo for some individuals, particularly women who are expected to conform to traditional gender roles. Men are often perceived as normal when using strong language, while women may face negative reactions for doing so, because in a way that does not apply to males, women who swear may face unfavorable moral as well as negative social judgments. The total of strong language found on Peaky Blinders season 4 episode 1 are 42 sentences which 83,3% of it dominated by men and 16,7% are spoken by women. By employing a qualitative approach, it resulted a conclusion that most swear word dominated by men. Furthermore, the study categorized each sentence into McEnery's (2005) fifteen distinct linguistic forms of swearing, facilitating a comprehensive analysis of the findings based on relevant theoretical frameworks. Understanding the intricacies of strong language use can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of language and gender dynamics


Swearing, Gender, McEnery, Peaky Blinders, Language

Full Text:



Andersson, L.G., & Trudgill, P. (1992). Bad language. London: Penguin books.

Aries, E. (1996). Men and Women in Interaction: Reconsidering the Differences. New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.

Baruch, Y., & Jenkins, S. (2007). Swearing at work and permissive leadership culture: When anti-social becomes social and incivility is acceptable. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 28, 492-507.

Bayard, D. & Krishnayya, S. (2001). Gender, Expletive Use, and Context: Male and Female Expletive Use in Structured and Unstructured Conversation among New Zealand University Students. Women & Language. 24. 1-15.

Bloomfield, L. (1922). Review of Language, Its Nature, Development, and Origin, by O. Jespersen. The American Journal of Philology, 43(4), 370–373.

Benwell, B. (2003). Ambiguous Masculinities: Heroism and Anti-Heroism in the Men's Lifestyle Magazine. The Sociological Review, 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2003.tb03609.x

Bird, G. W., & Harris, R. L. (1990). A comparison of role strain and coping strategies by gender and family structure among early adolescents. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 10(2), 141–158.

Cheshire, J. (1982). Linguistic variation and social function. In S. Romaine (Ed.), Sociolinguistic variation in speech communities. London, UK: Edward Arnold.

Coates, J. (2013). Women, men and language: A sociolinguistic account of gender differences in language. London, UK: Routledge.

Fägersten, Kristy. (2006). Tony McEnery: Swearing in English. Bad Language, Purity and Power from 1586 to the Present. Routledge, 2005. Applied Linguistics. 27. 10.1093/applin/aml026.

Figueiredo, C. M & Coimbra, I. F. (2017). Inner and outer reality in film storytelling: Wandering between vertexes of human reality foundations. Advances in Ergonomics in Design: Proceedings of the AHFE 2017 International Conference on Ergonomics in Design (pp.421-431). Publisher: Springer.1201/9781351242691-66.

Gauthier, M. & Guille, A. (2017). Chapter 6. Gender and age differences in swearing: A corpus study of Twitter. Advances in Swearing Research: New languages and new contexts. 10.1075/pbns.282.07gau.

Gur, R. C., Alsop, D., Glahn, D., Petty, R., Swanson, C. L., Maldjian, J. A. & Gur, R. E. (2000). An fMRI study of sex differences in regional activation to a verbal and a spatial task. Brain and language, 74(2), 157-170.

Guvendir, E. (2015). Why are males inclined to use strong swear words more than females? An evolutionary explanation based on male intergroup aggressiveness. Language Sciences. 10, 1-7. 10.1016/j.langsci.2015.02.003.

Hughes, S. (1997). Expletives of Lower Class Women. Language in Society, 21, 291-304.

Walton, J. K. (1995). ‘Talking Proper’: The Rise of Accent as Social Symbol. Journal of Social History. Volume 30, Issue 1, Fall 1996, Pages 284–286,

Jordan, K., Wustenberg, T., Heinze, H.-J., Peters, M. and Jancke, L. (2002). Women and Men Exhibit Different Cortical Activation Patterns During Mental Rotation Tasks. Neuropsychologia. 40(13), 2397-2408.

Joseph, S. & Robert, L. M. (1989). Selected Sermons and Writings. New York: Paulist Press

Karyn, S. (2003). Gender and swearing: A community practice. Women & Language. 26. 22-33.

Lakoff, R. (1973). Language and Woman's Place. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Lee, J & Vincent, H. (2012). The male fight-flight response: A result of SRY regulation of catecholamines?. BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. 34. 454-7. 10.1002/bies.201100159.

McEnery, A., Baker,. (2016). Corpus linguistics and 17th-century prostitution. UK: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Mulac, A., Studley, L. B., & Blau, S. (1990). The Gender-linked Language Effect in Primary and Secondary Students' Impromptu Essays. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 23(9-10), 439–469.

Newman, M. L., Groom, C. J., Handelman. L. D., & Pennebaker, J. W (2008). Gender Differences in Language Use: An Analysis of 14,000 Text Samples, Discourse Processes, 45:3, 211-236

Romaine, S. (1999). Communicating Gender. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.

Tannen, D. (1990). Gender Differences in Conversational Coherence: Physical Alignment and Topical Cohesion. In B. Dorval (Ed.), Conversational organization and its development (pp. 167–206). Ablex Publishing.

Vingerhoets, A., Bylsma, L., & Cornelis, V. (2013). Swearing: A Biopsychosocial Perspective. Psychological Topics. 22. 287-304.

Article Metrics

Abstract view : 309 times
PDF - 232 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 English Language and Literature International Conference (ELLiC) Proceedings

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Electronic ISSN: 2579-7263
CD-ROM ISSN: 2579-7549

Published by

Jl. Kedungmundu Raya No.18 Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia
Phone: +622476740295, email: [email protected]