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Eupheism in Newspaper Articles - A Study of Pass away, Give up the Ghost, Relieve oneself, Cloakroom, Fruitcake and Mental Disorder
2002 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor)Student thesis
Abstract [en]

Death, excretion, and mental illness are emotionally charged concepts. We often feel uneasy when talking about them and therefore, we try to avoid them or make them less offensive. To do the latter, we use a linguistic tool called euphemisms. This tool is invaluable and unique to human language. It enables us to “speak softly” which is very important in any kind of conversation or interaction with other people. A statement like ‘I have to urinate. Where is the toilet?’ would most certainly give offence and cause much discomfort if uttered in for example a restaurant. A more “sophisticated” statement such as Where can I powder my nose? is called for. In this essay, I have examined some euphemisms from the realms of death, excretion and mental illness and tried to determine if their meanings have changed and if they can be used in different contexts. I have also tried to determine their field of application. In order to find and examine euphemisms, I have used a computer corpus of newspaper articles. The concordance program Microconcord enabled me to search for one or several words in a euphemistic expression and the computer then presented a list of sentences containing these words. The newspapers I have looked at are The Guardian from 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 and The Observer from the same years. In my investigation I found that all euphemisms except one (cloakroom) had more than two fields of application.

Abstract [en]

Death, excretion, and mental illness are emotionally charged concepts. We often feel uneasy when talking about them and therefore, we try to avoid them or make them less offensive. To do the latter, we use a linguistic tool called euphemisms. This tool is invaluable and unique to human language. It enables us to “speak softly” which is very important in any kind of conversation or interaction with other people. A statement like ‘I have to urinate. Where is the toilet?’ would most certainly give offence and cause much discomfort if uttered in for example a restaurant. A more “sophisticated” statement such as Where can I powder my nose? is called for. In this essay, I have examined some euphemisms from the realms of death, excretion and mental illness and tried to determine if their meanings have changed and if they can be used in different contexts. I have also tried to determine their field of application. In order to find and examine euphemisms, I have used a computer corpus of newspaper articles. The concordance program Microconcord enabled me to search for one or several words in a euphemistic expression and the computer then presented a list of sentences containing these words. The newspapers I have looked at are The Guardian from 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 and The Observer from the same years. In my investigation I found that all euphemisms except one (cloakroom) had more than two fields of application.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. , 22 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53685Local ID: ENG C-13OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53685DiVA: diva2:1102245
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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  • apa
  • harvard1
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  • vancouver
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  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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