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We are living in interesting linguistic times, says Monash professor Kate Burridge, a specialist in swearing, and how languages and taboos evolve. "We hear swearing a lot more than we used to," she says from the bar of her favourite local. Later this week, she will be giving a free lecture in a CBD bar, on swearing.

It's a topic, she says, that lends itself well to a Melbourne bar. "Colloquial language has always had a very special significance in Australia, and that goes right back to ... the very earliest Australian English."Hers is just one of 20 talks this week, in an attempt at combining two things that Melbourne does well: education, and drinking.

The talks will occur across 10 city-centre bars on Wednesday night, part of a global education initiative, Raising The Bar. The event, organised by Melbourne City Council, is designed to turn the bars into pop-up learning labs, with speakers presenting their research and insights as part of the evening. Read More