Language and taboo

One of the 'suggested topics' from the IB Language A: Language and Literature guide for Part 1 is 'language and taboo'. As we look at how language is used in various contexts, we see that some people are shocked or offended by certain forms of language. What constutues acceptible use of language varies from culture to culture. 

One example that is explored in this suggested topic is the use of langauge to prevent the spread of AIDS and HIV. The ways in which different advertisements deal with this subject matter vary, because audiences everywhere respond to this topic differently.

Guiding questions

  1. Why is a certain audience shocked by the use of certain language?

  2. What do taboos say about cultural values and shared beliefs?

  3. How is language used to break taboos?

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