Do You Live in a Fuck State or a Shit State?


The Guardian reports today on the latest work of Jack Grieve, a professor of forensic linguistics at Aston University in the UK, aided by research from Diansheng Guo and Alice Kasakoff of the University of South Carolina and Andrea Nini, of Aston University. Their research topic is this: how do people swear in different US states? Only a British newspaper could publish this, since American newspapers would never allow such family-unfriendly swill in their august pages. Hell, I may be stretching things by doing it at Mother Jones.

You can click the link for the full rundown, but you’ll be interested to know that “fuckboy” is one of the fastest rising words of 2014. It’s apparently popular in the mid-Atlantic region and in California starting just north of where I live—which explains why I’ve never heard of it.

In any case, here’s a sample of Grieve’s linguistic maps. On the left are states where “fuck” is especially popular, and on the right are states where “shit” is especially popular. California is clearly a fuck state, which fits with my observations of a lifetime. Of course, you also have some states—mostly in the polite Midwest—that don’t use either, and some—mostly the coastal areas from South Carolina up to New Jersey—where they really like them both. Fascinating, no? Certainly more interesting than the old soda-pop-coke chestnut.