Abso-b████y-lutely: Expletive Infixation

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There are rules in the English language that you’ve probably never been taught, but you know anyway: how to split apart words with “infixes”. But you’ve never been taught it because some of those infixes are words you probably shouldn’t use in front of your high school English teachers…

Written with Molly Ruhl and Gretchen McCulloch. Gretchen’s podcast Lingthusiasm is at – and there are two bonus episodes, #1 and #13, on the podcast Patreon about exactly this!

Gretchen’s book BECAUSE INTERNET, all about the evolution of internet language, is available:
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(Those are affiliate links that give a commission to me or Gretchen, depending on country!)

Graphics by William Marler:
Audio mix by Graham Haerther:

REFERENCES:
IPSOS Mori / Ofcom (2016). Attitudes to potentially offensive language and gestures on TV and radio. [PDF]
Vittrant, A., Watkins, J., & Matisoff, J. (2018). The mainland southeast Asia linguistic area. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbHMouton.
Ringe, D. (2006). From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic. Oxford: OUP Oxford.Ljung, M. (2011). Swearing: A cross-cultural linguistic study. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ljung, M. (2011). Swearing: A cross-cultural linguistic study. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
McCawley, J. D., & Zwicky, A. M. (1992). Studies Out in Left Field: Defamatory Essays Presented to James D. McCawley on the Occasion of His 33rd or 34th Birthday. John Benjamins Publishing Co.
McMillan, J. (1980). Infixing and Interposing in English. American Speech, 55(3), 163-183
Zwicky, A., & Pullum, G. (1987). Plain Morphology and Expressive Morphology. Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 13, 330.
Aronoff, M. (1976). Word formation in generative grammar. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
McCarthy, J. (1982). Prosodic structure and Expletive Infixation. Language, 58(3), 574.
McMillan, J. (1980). Infixing and Interposing in English. American Speech, 55(3), 163-183
Zwicky, A., & Pullum, G. (1987). Plain Morphology and Expressive Morphology. Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 13, 330.

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