November 29, 2016
Are we all going to be a bunch of potty mouths now?
by Taylor Sperry
While people across cultures and languages tend to exhibit a “positive linguistic bias”—a preference for positive words like “awesome,” “pretty,” “grace”—a recent study suggests that this bias fluctuates according to “changes in objective environment, i.e., war and economic hardships, and by changes in national subjective happiness.”
I would submit that “national subjective happiness” levels are currently quite low in the US.
For the New York Times Steph Yin asks if we might notice a “dip” in “the ratio of positive emotional words to negative ones” in the aftermath of Trump’s election. To find out, we’d need “different dictionaries and different databases,” one of the researchers told Yin—this is just the beginning—but anecdotal evidence suggests that there’s been a lot more “OH, FUCK” going around.
Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.