Posts Tagged ‘Prof Burridge’

Toddlers are Using Bad Language. Should we Really Care?

June 11, 2012

Unfortunately swearing has become part of our vernacular. Curse words are no longer seen as rude or unsociable and parents are less conscious of avoiding sprouting certain words around their children. Many will not see this as a problem. They will argue that swearing is harmless and a popular fixture of everyday conversation.

I do not find swearing offensive per se, but I am grateful that my parents brought me up to express myself in a more dignified way. It would greatly upset me if my children swore, like many children are nowadays:

CHILDREN as young as three are swearing – and it’s not just “bloody” coming out of the mouths of babes either.

“F—” and “s—” are the first naughty words that toddlers usually let fly.

They pick up swear words from the playground, at home and on TV and they do it because it gets them “maximum attention”, linguistics expert Kate Burridge says.

“In the old days they might have had their mouths washed out with soap or been sent to the bedroom with no supper,” Prof Burridge, of Monash University, said.

“But (now) they get maximum attention and learn how potent these word are.”

Parents say almost 60 per cent of children swear by three years of age and that by kindergarten more than 90 per cent of children have uttered their first rude word, an exclusive Herald Sun survey found.

Etiquette expert June Dally-Watkins said the level of swearing on TV and in public was unacceptable.

“I think it is disgusting,” she said.

“Parents should not permit it.”

Most parents agree with Ms Dally-Watkins – 70 per cent believe schools and parents should do more to crack down on swearing.

But parents (52 per cent) admit their children often hear their first curse at home.

Second was the playground (48 per cent) at school or pre-school, followed by TV (31 per cent).

Most parents (78 per cent) still actively discourage swearing.

Prof Burridge advises parents not to panic if their child swears.

She says: “It is probably best to treat these as ordinary words, because they are.

They have always been an important part of the Australian vernacular.”

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