2 marks for swearing!
The only two words on the candidate’s English paper were ‘Fuck Off”. AQAs Chief Examiner, who awarded the marks, felt that the student had expressed meaning and feeling – 2 marks. Apparently, another mark would have been awarded if there had been an exclamation mark!
Actually, one could also argue that the student was bold, succinct and to the point. On a deeper level it shows courage, and a disregard for the conventions of language within examinations, the drudgery of the A+ essay with all of its dull conventions and playing for marks. It’s stunningly subversive and liguistically legitimate - Shakespeare and many more brilliant writers did it all the time. (Tongue in metaphorical cheek.)
Why do we swear?
For more linguistic depth on the subject of swearing, read Chapter 7 of Steven Pinker’s The Stuff of Thought, where he explains why swearing is a natural form in all languages, along with reasons for the existence of swear words. He argues that swear words tend to be sexual or scatological as, in our evolutionary past, these things signified danger and disease. The blaspheming brain is particularly sensitive to the conotations of swear words ad patiets who lose their ability to use articulate language can sometimes still swear. Tourette Syndrome is evidence that swearing is a coherent neurobiological pheomenon. Blasphemy ad profanity is the other rich source for swear words.