Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, Vol 7, No 1 (2016)

Swearing after Traumatic Brain Injury: A Linguistic Analysis

Louise C. Keegan, Holly McAdam
Issued Date: 21 Jun 2016


This research examines the case of an individual with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and his swearword use. Verbal aggression in the form of swearwords is frequently reported in the clinical treatment of language after TBI, however it has not been examined from a linguistic perspective. This paper uses the principles of systemic functional linguistics to reveal the complex skills necessary to manipulate and employ swearwords. Hence, although clinicians often attribute excessive swearing in this population to reduced control of automatic responses, this paper reveals the skills employed in use of these words, which may pave the way for future strength based linguistic treatments for this population.

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DOI: 10.1558/jircd.v7i1.21570


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