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The Dutch Bond Tegen Vloeken (Association Against Profanity) regularly advertises against the use of cursing, swearing, and profanity.

Their 2015/2016 campaign features 5 posters, each stating a claim, supposedly backed by research. I haven't been able to find the research mentioned, so I'm doubting the veracity of their claims.

The claims are (in Dutch, followed by the translation)

Een vloek raakt vooral anderen.
70% van de Nederlanders ervaart vloeken als hinderlijk.

A curse mainly affects others.
70% of all Dutch are bothered by cursing.

The poster with the above claim

En, opgelucht?
73% van de Nederlanders vindt schelden en vloeken door collega’s in functie niet kunnen.

And, relieved?
73% of all Dutch think profanity and swearing by colleagues has no place at work.

The poster with the above claim

Grof is niet grappig.
Gelukkig biedt 70% van de jongeren excuses aan als ze worden aangesproken op grof taalgebruik.

Rude is not funny.
Fortunately, 70% of all young people apologize when they are held accountable for rude language.

The poster with the above claim

Met vloeken breekt er iets.
Voor 61% van de Nederlanders is schelden met 'kanker' pijnlijk.

Something breaks when cursing.
To 61% of all Dutch, cursing with 'cancer' hurts.

The poster with the above claim

Voor een vloek bestaat geen firewall.
96% van de jongeren vindt grof taalgebruik regelmatig storend.

There's no firewall for profanity.
96% of all young people are regularly bothered by rude language.

The poster with the above claim

All these claims are sourced (according to the posters) to research done and surveys held by consulting agency Scompany, TNS-NIPO, and the Radboud University.

All sources I could find are either old (the latest profanity monitor (in Dutch) on the site of the Bond Tegen Vloeken is from 2008), or has been advice on how to communicate their message most effectively (by Scompany (in Dutch) and by a lecturer at the Radboud University).
The only relevant research done was a survey held by Scompany, among young people in Utrecht (a major Dutch city), which doesn't seem representative.

So are these claims and these numbers accurate?


‡: Cursing with diseases, both current ones like cancer and historical ones like the plague, is common in the Netherlands.

[btvnpc]: https://www.bondtegenvloeken.nl/nieuwepostercampagne/

  • 1
    As stated in my question, the only materials I could find, by the sources mentioned, didn't support the claims made, which is reason for me to doubt the claims. Also, since of the percentages seem high, which suggests to me that they may have "summarised" surveys in a way that supports their claims. – SQB Jan 8 '16 at 18:50
  • 1
    They have a Twitter account and Facebook page, as well as an email address (info@) on their site. Perhaps you can try asking for the research? – Martin Tournoij Jan 8 '16 at 20:04
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    My skepticism of these claims stems from the wording of the claims. They are highly suggestive of some very dubious surveying or interpretation of results. – Dancrumb Jan 9 '16 at 20:40
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    If a curse word doesn't bother anyone, is it a curse word? – T. Sar Mar 18 at 10:20
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    @jwenting In other words - by definition a curse word bothers a bunch of people. A word that doesn't do so isn't a curse word. A regular word can become offensive because it starts bothering (like "retard" did), and a previously offensive word can become less so as time goes by, like what happened to several variants of the word for "shit" in Brazil. – T. Sar Mar 18 at 12:26

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