Terminology and Taboo: Sexual Vocabulary in Popular Science Books  for Children and Youth Cover Image

Terminologia a tabu. Seksualizmy w popularnonaukowych książkach dla dzieci i młodzieży
Terminology and Taboo: Sexual Vocabulary in Popular Science Books for Children and Youth

Author(s): Natalia Paprocka, Agnieszka Wandel
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Language studies, Language and Literature Studies, Sociolinguistics, Philology
Published by: Komisja Nauk Filologicznych Oddziału Polskiej Akademii Nauk we Wrocławiu
Keywords: sexual terminology; taboo; sexuality; popular science books; books for children and youth

Summary/Abstract: The aim of the article was to examine the impact of existing taboos on the use of sexual terminology in non-scientific discourse. The study was carried out on the basis of 111 popular science books for children and youth devoted to sexuality and published in Poland in the 1945–2018 period. We collected a corpus of sexual vocabulary related to external male and female genital organs and to sexual intercourse. The analysis showed that these notions are expressed by both sexological terms and their everyday language equivalents. In the majority of books, at least one term appears, which indicates that terminology is seen as appropriate means of naming taboo concepts in communication with children and teenagers. However, since more than half of the analysed publications also use common-vocabulary expressions in addition to terminology, we conclude that the authors consider terminology as insufficient by itself. The strategies used in the selection of sexual vocabulary depend on at least five combined factors: the type of taboo involved, the time of publication of the book, the country of origin, the ideology presented in the book, and the age of the reader.

  • Issue Year: 2021
  • Issue No: 13
  • Page Range: 215-229
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Polish