Not any more

Canadian speech could use some potty training

In Canada on August 4, 2010 at 20:29

Canadians swear more than Britons and Americans, according to a new Angus Reid poll.

Canadians, it seems, swear more often than Americans and Britons when talking to friends. Britons, meanwhile, are more likely than Canadians and Americans to hear strangers swear during a conversation.

In an online survey of 1,012 Canadian, 1,013 American and 1,992 British adults, 27 per cent of Canadian respondents, 27 per cent of British respondents and 26 per cent of Americans say they frequently hear their friends cuss during the course of a regular day.

Twenty-one per cent of Americans were more likely than Canadians (17 per cent) and Britons (13 per cent) to say their relatives swear more frequently.

And 36 per cent of Canadians, versus 24 per cent of Britons and 18 per cent of Americans, reported with co-workers swore on a regular basis.

Curiously, a staggering — or maybe not staggering — 56 per cent of Canadians freely admit they frequently or occasionally swear when talking to friends. Fifty-one per cent of Britons and 46 per cent of Americans owned up to coarse language.

When it comes to conversing with relatives, however, only about a tenth of the respondents in all three countries admitted to swearing during conversations, and roughly a third of Britons and Americans said they never swear in front of relatives, and slightly fewer Canadians claim to clam up on potty words in front of family.

Americans are also more discreet in the office: 46 per cent say they never use profane language in front of co-workers. A third of Britons and Canadians stiffen their upper lips and stifle the f-bombs at work.

About a third of respondents in all three countries say they alter their speech in public, and fewer than 20 per cent say they never alter their speech.

Just more than a third of respondents in the three countries say they always alter the way they speak in order to make sure a swear word is not heard in public (U.S. 35 per cent, Britains 37 per cent, Canada 34 per cent).

Slightly more Americans (18 per cent) than Canadians (15 per cent) and Britons (15 per cent) say they never alter their behaviour, and if a swear word comes out they are not troubled by it.

More than 70 per cent of respondents in all three countries say it is not appropriate for politicians, lawyers, doctors, and police officers to swear, even when they are not aware that somebody else is listening; between 60 and 70 per cent believe it’s inappropriate for athletes to swear, and nearly half figure actors and auto mechanics shouldn’t swear.

The survey was conducted between July 20 and 23, 2010, and the results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points in Canada.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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