Women use the F-word more than men, according to new survey

Men appear to have dramatically cut their use of the word f*** since the 1990s, while women have increased it significantly

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The Independent Online

Women use the F-word more than men, according to a survey that looked at the swearing habits of both genders over the past two decades.

The study, which assessed a total of 376 people, analysed recordings of up to three hours of their daily conversations – half of which have been transcribed so far.

So far the findings show that women use the F-word 546 times per million words and men use it 540 times. The full results are set to be published in 2018.

This is a dramatic change from the 1990s, where men used the F-word 1,000 times per million words and women only 167, according to The Times.

The survey, which was administered by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which sponsored the survey in conjunction with Lancaster University and Cambridge University Press, is the first time changes in speech have been studied over a period of 20 years.

Professor Tony McEnery, who is a director at the ESRC, suggested swearing was losing its masculine image and becoming more gender neutral.

“It looks like there were a set of men who said it a lot in the early Nineties, and they influenced the women to do it, and then it levelled down,” Professor McEnery told The Times.

“As equality drives on, the idea that there is male and female language, that there are things which men and women should or should not say, is going to be eroded . . . gentlemanly behaviour and ladylike language should become something of the past.

“These data sets are very rare. The British are the first to achieve this, to see how English has changed over the years."

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