March 28 Meeting

Profanity: An Exploration of

How, When, and Why


Amanda Gillis-Furutaka

Date:              Thursday, March 28, 2024

Time:              6:00–6:45 pm: Arrive and mingle

                        7:00 pm: Dinner

                        8:00–9:00 pm: Presentation

Place:             Hilton Osaka (Umeda), 3F

Cost:              FEW members: ¥6,000

                       Nonmembers (women only): ¥8,000 

Register:        Hilton: By Wednesday, March 20, midnight

                             [FEW Kansai members may participate in monthly meetings via Zoom if unable to join in person at the Hilton.    

                          Please go to the Event page for details.]

Profanity: an offensive or obscene word or phrase used to shock, insult, and/or express a range of emotions. Have you ever been taken aback to hear something profane pop out of your mouth? Or maybe you are intentional about your use of F-bombs? The use of taboo words is a topic few people talk about, let alone research. This month, we will have a chance to learn about the how, when, and why of profanity and to explore its role in the world of communication.

Amanda Gillis-Furutaka started researching this topic after being puzzled by her own occasional, involuntary use of the F-word. Diving into the brain science of speech production, Amanda was fascinated by how we process and control the production of spoken language. She’ll share what she learned, along with the history of profanity. When did it start? How do words become more or less profane over time?  Why do we respond the way we do?  Amanda will also touch on the beneficial and harmful effects of profanity and the challenges of regulating its use in public domains. Join us for what is sure to be an enlightening evening.

Disclaimer: This talk aims to look at profanity from an objective socio-historical and scientific perspective. Taboo words will not be shown or uttered gratuitously, and efforts will be made to avoid discomfort for participants.

Our Speaker: Amanda Gillis-Furutaka

Amanda Gillis-Furutaka was born and educated in the UK, where her undergraduate degree was in French and German. After spending time in France, Portugal, China, and Brazil, she settled in Japan where she gained her MA in TESOL from Birmingham University and her PhD from London University. She is a professor in the Faculty of Foreign Languages at Kyoto Sangyo University and has taught language and culture there for over 30 years.

She is the President of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) Special Interest Group called Mind, Brain, and Education. She has presented and published regularly in their journal and monthly magazines for teachers. (Both are available to the public, and the links are below.) For Amanda, understanding the brain is essential for understanding how humans learn and behave.

BRAIN SIG Think Tank Magazine:

BRAIN SIG Journal:


Miwa Sasaki was born in Japan but spent several years in California in her childhood. She has a BA from Osaka University, has studied at UCL in Belgium, and has a PhD in Human Science. Currently, she is the Director of the Kayoko Fund and the Secretary General of KISO (Kobe International Sustaining Organization) sister organizations that work globally in areas of great need. Miwa is often on the ground in areas suffering from war and natural disasters, and since 2022 has made five trips to Ukraine and this year visited Syria to deliver aid after the earthquake there.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software