Opposition leader Tony Abbott copped some flak when he referred to a soldier’s death in Afghanistan using a certain well-known philosophical homily: “Shit happens.”

How did this phrase enter the lexicon, and what impact has it had?

It’s all happening with UWA linguist Daniel Midgley on this week’s Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

Video of the Abbott Incident, as well as 20 riveting silent seconds.
http://www.3news.co.nz/Tony-Abbotts-cringeworthy-20-seconds/tabid/313/articleID/197897/Default.aspx#video

Use Google Ngram viewer to find the first instance of “shit happens” in print:
http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=shit+happens&year_start=1950&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3

Interested in more about Natural Semantic Metalanguage?
http://www.une.edu.au/bcss/linguistics/nsm/semantics-in-brief.php