Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


This research examined 25 award-winning novels on the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults lists from 1995-2005 to identify through content analysis the frequency of use of objectionable language. A further textual analysis was then done to look for contextual patterns in the use of objectionable language in dialogue.

The researcher kept record of each instance of such language used in each novel. These instances were then analyzed by novel, by word, by most often used in each novel, and by most often used overall. Next, information was gathered to see if the objectionable language appeared in dialogue. Sorts were done by speaker gender and age as well as by the listener's gender and age, and as to whether there was an adult present at the time. Finally, sorts were done on the contextual patterns in the use of objectionable language in dialogue. Sorts were done, as well, to determine the reason for the use of the objectionable language: emotional expression, hurtful/insult, unconscious speech patterns. Words that could be considered objectionable but were used in their literal form were not counted. Findings indicated that objectionable language was used in dialogue expressed both internally and externally by characters, that it is was used by both males and females in all situations depending on the character and situation, and that objectionable language was used for various reasons such as emotional expression, insult and unconscious thought.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Library Science

First Advisor

Barbara Safford


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Date Original


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