[FOUNTAIN]How bad words lead to bad deeds

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[FOUNTAIN]How bad words lead to bad deeds

Profanity means deviation and collision. It also means destruction, violence and aberration, which is why those words can lead to violent outbursts. Traditional masked dances, abundant with profanities and vulgar language, were an escape route for the society’s conflict back then and as a result the dancers spewed foul language. But in today’s world, overflowing with profanity, the younger generation has assumed the role of the masked dancers.
In 2002, Professor Kim Sang-yoon at ChungAng University looked at the profanity tendencies of 300 university students. From a social philological standpoint, college students reflect the language that is used at a certain period. They’ve been using their mother tongue for over 20 years and have been well educated. But a survey of profanities used by the students came to a total of 12,752 words. Considering that a concise dictionary consists of 30,000 to 50,000 words, it shows how much they swear.
Another study involving 100 college students found that 84 percent of them answered that they often swear. In other words, profanity has become part of everyday life. Also, 45 percent of those surveyed answered that they swore for no reason while another 30 percent said they swore to vent anger. In a 2003 study on the frequency of profanity and violent language on portal Web sites used mostly by those in their twenties, 26.4 percent were loaded with violent language while some 35 percent used symbols in their postings, indirectly using vulgarities.
However disgraceful the expressions may be, the statistics give one the impression that our younger generation are “breathing profanities.”
In his work “Profanity ―The Aesthetic of Catharsis,” Kim Yeol-kyu said “profanities explode when emotions like frustration and disappointment are entangled with hate and grudge.” With the recent shooting incident at a military guard post, we are worrying about the young people in our armed forces. It is because, despite our urge to deny it, we can do nothing but worry without presenting a sound solution about the swearing senior-ranking soldier and the one who pulled the trigger out of anger.


by Ahn Sung-kyoo

The writer is a deputy political news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.
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