Why The Fuck Don’t More Linguists Study Cursing?

That’s what Gretchen McCulloch wants to know:

Strange to say, but it doesn’t seem like the syntactic study of swear words has really progressed much beyond these obscure, semi-satirical papers from the 60s and 70s. I found a long-ass list on the “anal emphatic,” a sociolinguistics paper on fuck in the British National Corpus, a paper on taboo-term predicates in ASL, and some semantics papers on “that bastard” and on “fucking brilliant” (here’s an accessible overview of the semantics side) but otherwise not much has been written and it’s permeated even less into popular culture. Wikipedia, for example, currently has a mere four sentences under the grammar section of its fuck article, despite extensive usage and etymology sections. It’s certainly not for lack of interest: after all, the history, sociology, and culture around fuck and other swears generates practically a book a year.

I do hope that any linguists reading this will let me know if there are other papers that I’ve missed, or perhaps even be inspired to write one. I mean, you’d think we’d know more about swears by now, for fuck’s sake.