James Mariano: The Triangle

According to Fox 29, the construction site for Temple University’s new library is also home to a sign that reads “No Foul Language.”

Madison Construction, the company responsible for the hired workers does not allow cursing on its sites as a rule. It’s kind of unclear why, although the average bear could speculate a few reasons off the bat — maybe it’s for religious reasons, or they keep it clean for the neighborhood’s sake (there are children around here!), or maybe at some point there was an “incident” related to language where someone lost a foot.

Fox 29 also interviewed a Temple student about their thoughts on the sign and the student claimed not to understand it. Why wasn’t foul language allowed? It’s nothing college students haven’t heard before. In fact, going to college in and of itself is kind of like taking an unofficial course in swearing. We learn how to twist the f-bomb into all sorts of different parts of speech — adjectives, verbs, adverbs, interjections. Really advanced college culture proteges might even sprinkle it into their anecdotes in pronoun form.

Swearing is part of the culture on most college campuses. It’s a safe zone where students don’t have to worry about offending anyone. It becomes a kind of common language, thrown around casually. We don’t have to watch our language in public because our community is made up almost exclusively of our peers.

Studies surrounding swearing have also found that it relieves stress. “Mythbusters” even did an episode once where they exposed five people to “pain inducing cold” — participants were allowed to swear in the first trial and had to use fake swear words in the second. The results found that spewing foul language increased the sufferer’s stamina by an average of 30 percent. Some psycholinguists even claim that swear words allow people to communicate emotional information more effectively and express their anger without acting out physically.

And maybe that’s why at the same time college courses have become more and more demanding, they’re also becoming a kind of safe haven for swearing. Academics are stressful. Figuring out how to live on our own for the first time is stressful. And dealing with people? Especially, in group projects? Well, f— if that ain’t stressful, too.

Language builds cultures. It reflects cultures. The way we talk about things affects how we come to conceptualize and explain them.

So we guess our point is that the sign Madison Construction put up put a little thought in our heads — does swearing affect how we construct things, too?