Jumanto Jumanto(1*), Haryati Sulistyorini(2)

(1) Universitas Dian Nuswantoro
(2) Universitas Dian Nuswantoro
(*) Corresponding Author


This paper explores swearing utterances in English language use, the hearers referred to, and the functions the utterances imply.  Accounts on the issue are taken from the English-language-affiliated Websites in the Internet. This research is a literature review with interpretative techniques and employs a coding analysis with three proposed premises. As the findings, swearing utterances belong to informal English with notorious, casual, heteregeneous, inconsistent, irregular, and speaker-dependent aspects. Swearing utterances have elaborated literal meaning and creative meaning to various contexts, which are personal and private. Swearing utterances to others are rude, offensive, profane, or obscene, as expressions of anger; however, when adjusted to the context of hearer, the meanings or functions vary. Swearing utterances to others create rude and offensive situations. However, swearing utterances to close people through jokes and possitive connotations may instill solidarity or confirm camaraderie. Swearing utterances concerning internal expressions or expletives function to intensify the messages.


pragmatics; politeness; informal English; rude situation; swearing

Full Text:



G. Leech, Principles of Pragmatics, Longman, New York, 1983.

J. Jumanto, S.S. Rizal, & R.A. Nugroho, “Acting the Intangible: Hints of Politeness in Non-Verbal Form”, English Language Teaching, 10 (11), 2017, 111-118, 2017.

E. Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Anchor Books, New York, 1959.

P. Brown & S.C. Levinson, Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987.

J. Renkema, Discourse Studies: An Introductory Textbook, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1993.

J. Jumanto, “Phatic Communication among English Native Speakers”, an Unpublished Dissertation Thesis, Fakultas Ilmu Pengetahuan Budaya, Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, 2006.

R. Brown & A. Gilman, “The Pronouns of Power and Solidarity”, in J. A. Fishman (Ed.), Readings in the Sociology of Language, pp. 252–275, Mouton & Co. N.V. Publishers, the Hague, 1968.

M. J. Baker, “Writing a Literature Review”, The Marketing Review, 1(2), 219-247,, 2000.

J. Webster & R. T. Watson, “ Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: writing a literature review”, MIS Quarterly, 26(2), xiii-xxiii, 2002.

A. Bolderston, “Writing an Effective Literature Review”, Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 39, 86-92., 2008.

R. Audi, ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999.

A. Strauss & J. Corbin, Basics of qualitative research: grounded theory procedures and techniques, Sage Publications, California, 1990.

I. Holloway, Basic concepts for qualitative research, Blackwell Science Ltd, Oxford, 1997.

A. Bohm, “Theoretical coding: text analysis in grounded theory”, in U. Flick, E. Kardorff & I. Steinke (Eds.), A Companion to Qualitative Research, pp. 270-275, SAGE, Publications, London, 2004.

J. Saladana, “The coding manual for qualitative researchers”, Sage, ISBN 1446247376, 2012.

Jumanto, J. (2014a). Politeness and Camaraderie: How Types of Form Matter in Indonesian Context. Proceeding: The Second International Conference on Education and Language (2nd ICEL). Bandar Lampung University (UBL), Indonesia.

J. Jumanto, “The Language of Informality within ELT Context”, ASEAN-English Language Teaching, in affiliation with Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities (Pertanika JHSS), ISSN: 0128-7702 (Print); ISSN: 2231-8534 (Online)., ACCEPT, 2018.

Web-Data 1, 20 Bloody Brilliant British Swear Words You’re About to Use All the Time,, retrieved April 2019.

Web-Data 2, English swear words are recognized all around the world, used in movies, literature, and TV shows,, retrieved April 2019.

Web-Data 3, 77 of the Best (Bleeping) Dirty Words from Around the World [NSFW],, retrieved April 2019.

Web-Data 4, The Most Popular Swear Words on Facebook,, retrieved April 2019.

Web-Data 5, Part 1 in Our Series on the Grammar of Swearing,, retrieved April 2019.

Web-Data 6, Every British swear word has been officially ranked in order of offensiveness,, retrieved April 2019.

Web-Data 7, 49 British Swearwords, Defined. A guide for the bewildered,, retrieved April 2019.

Cambridge, Cambridge Dictionary,, cited April 2019.

Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, Since 1928, , cited April 2019.

Oxford, English, Oxford Living Dictionary,, cited April 2019.

J. Jumanto, “Towards a Character Language: A Probability in Language Use”, Open Journal of Modern Linguistics (OJML), 2014(4): 333-349., 2018 Thomson-Reuters Indexing, 2014.

J. Jumanto, “Educating the Indonesian Language: A Proposed Verbal Social Project for the National Harmony. Advances in Social Sciences, Education and Humanities Research (ASSEHR)-YICEMAP-17, Vol. 66, pp. 215-221. doi:10.2991/yicemap-17.2017.36, 2018 Thomson-Reuters Indexing, 2017.

J. Jumanto, “A Character Language for the World’s Harmony? A Philosophical Review”, Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy, 7:4 (2017), ISSN: 2161-0487, DOI: 10.4172/2161-0487.1000319. URL:, 2017.

J. Jumanto, “How to Control Hate Speech and Hoax: A Character Language for the Character Citizens”, Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Teacher Education and Professional Development (The 2nd Incotepd 2017),, 2018 Scopus Indexing (Imprint), 2017.

Article Metrics

Abstract view : 497 times
PDF - 132 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 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: