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Министерство Образования и Науки Республики Казахстан

Республиканское государственное казенное предприятие

Восточно-Казахстанский государственный университет

им. С. Аманжолова

Филологический Факультет

Кафедра английского языка

Дипломная работа

на тему: semantic and stylistic aspect of euphemisms in modern english

Научный руководитель:

Старший преподаватель Г. Г. Сейлкумарова

«___» ________ 200_г.

Зав.кафедрой английского языка,

к.ф.н, доцент С.С.Нуркенова

«___» ________ 200_г.

Выполнил(-а) студент(-ка)

Группы 4В №404 Л. Х. Акатаева

«___» ________ 200_г.

Нормоконтролер Т. А. Васильева

«___» ________ 200_г.

Усть-Каменогорск, 2009

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION 3

1 LINGUISTIC ASPECT OF EUPHEMISMS IN MODERN ENGLISH 7

1.1 Conceptual world view behind euphemisms 7

1.2 Definition and function of euphemisms 8

1.3 The evolution of euphemisms 11

1.4 The etymology of euphemisms 13

1.5 Taboos and euphemisms 15

2 SEMANTIC WORD BEHIND EUPHEMISMS 17

2.1 Classification of euphemisms on the semantic principle 17

3 EUPHEMISMS AS EXPRESSIVE MEANS AND STYLISTIC DEVICE IN MODERN ENGLISH 34

3.1 Feelings and emotions caused by the process of euphemistic mapping 34

3.2 Interaction of emotions and ethnic culture in euphemisms 36

3.3 Cognitive structure of source and target domains in the process of new euphemistic nominations 38

3.4 Differences of euphemistic projection in image schemes and newly

nominated euphemisms 40

3.5 Psychological aspect of studying euphemisms and dysphemisms 42

CONCLUSION 45

BYBLIOGRAPHY 48

APPENDIX A – Glossary of euphemisms 52

APPENDIX B - General classification of euphemisms and dysphemisms from psychological point of view 58

APPENDIX C- Classification of euphemisms according to the thematical

subdivision 60

6

INTRODUCTION

Euphemisms for the majority of people is the device to create humorous situation. most can get along without them in everyday life, but they are found everywhere not only in emotive prose but also in the publicistic style, in highly emotional speech, in extreme cases to lessen the impact of the situation on the people making it sound milder. Our conceptual system plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. The perception may be global or local. Global world view is presented by philosophical, scientific, religious world views. Local world view is presented through sociological, informational, physical, artistic world views. Conceptual world view is very rich, it covers a lot of things. It contains different communicative types of thinking, verbal and nonverbal. As the language is the spirit of the people speaking it, we may state that the inner forms of the language and the conceptual world view behind the language is realized through languages. Any language forms the world view behind the language and at the same time it reflects world other views. The most important sphere of a man’s world and his personality is the sphere of emotions. It is the sphere of psychology and emotive evaluations. Our emotional world is one of the local world views behind the language. The act of cognition is emotionally coloured. Emotions cover all our spheres of life. The objective world is endless, but a man is limited in the process of cognition. Any world view contains personal subjective cognition. Thus we speak of personal, subjective interpretation of the objective world. A man reacts to the outer and inner pressure by different states of activities: perception, expressing wishes, points of view, speaking, and physical activities.

Any euphemisms may be defined as a substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of the one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener. It makes expression less troublesome for the speaker. Anthropocentric nature of euphemisms is well-known. Our universal emotions are characterized by national peculiarities. The following linguists as Kacev A. M., Keith Allan, Kate Burridge, Obvinceva O. V., Neuman and Sibker investigated euphemisms as linguistic and unique phenomena of the language in comparative linguistics, stylistics, euphemisms in publicistic style , pragmatic aspect of euphemisms and their stylistic aspect.

Our investigation is based on the interaction of psychology, linguistics and stylistics. We analyzed not only euphemistic mapping in our conceptual system, but also their impact on the listener.

The object of our investigation is euphemisms as semantic and stylistic phenomenon in the English language.

The subject of study is emotive prose in the English language (British and American literature).

The aims of the paper are the following:

  1. to systematize euphemisms on the semantic principle;

  2. to describe the interaction of emotions and ethnic culture in euphemisms;

  3. to investigate, cognate structure of source and target domain in newly-nominated euphemisms;

  4. to investigate psychological aspect of euphemistic mapping.

To achieve these aims we set the following tasks:

  1. to observe scientific literature on the interaction of psychology, linguistics and stylistics;

  2. to define theoretical grounds of euphemistic mapping;

  3. to describe our conceptual system through euphemisms;

  4. to examine the procedure of the formation of euphemisms.

The novelty of our investigation lies in the new approach of the cognition of the conceptual world view behind the language through euphemisms.

The actuality of the paper is defined by the necessity to study the nature of euphemistic mapping from source domain to target domain.

The practical value of the paper consists of the application of the results of the investigation in the course of stylistics, text interpretation, theory and practice of translation.

The following methods have been applied:

  1. descriptive;

  2. comparative analysis of literature on stylistics, phraseology, semaseology, psycholinguistics;

  3. analysis of euphemistic, stylistic projections in the English literature.

The materials of our study are:

  1. examples from classical English literature;

  2. Russian – English dictionaries.

Approbation of the paper was reported at the Scientific Conference held at the East – Kazakhstan State University in April, 2009.

Our hypothesis is that the notion of euphemistic mapping can be referred not only to the sphere stylistic devices, but it can be accepted as a universal means of the cognition of the world. Euphemisms intercepted from different sources underwent thorough linguistic and stylistic analysis.

The first part presents theoretical backgrounds of euphemistic mapping: the origin, evolution, etymology, taboos and euphemisms. Euphemisms being defined as a linguistic phenomenon have direct reference to stylistics where it is defined as a stylistic means.

The second part contains the information about semantic world behind euphemisms. Classifications of euphemisms on the semantic principle.

The third part is devoted to stylistic analysis of new nominated euphemisms, their pejorative coloring. Different feelings and emotions are involved into the process of euphemistic mapping. The description of the procedure of the formation of euphemisms is closely connected with the psychological aspect of their study.

We came to the conclusion that euphemistic mapping is found in all spheres of our life. Euphemisms, which are meant to soften the impact of the pressure of the situation on the speaker, call immediately a line of synonyms from which we choose the world with pejorative coloring.

They may be used to denote the feeling of fear, shame, odium.

The opposition to euphemisms there are so-called dysphemisms, the words which are used to aggravate the situation to make it more offensive. These words become dominating in the English vocabulary. Their negative connotations make people narrow their local world view up to dominating negative impression over positive ones.

Our hypothesis was justified. It is really a universal means of the cognition of the objective global world. With euphemisms we connect very positive emotions that make our life easier and happier.

1 LINGUISTIC ASPECT OF EUPHEMISMS IN MODERN ENGLISH

    1. Conceptual world view behind euphemisms

World view is the result of spiritual world of man, his reconsideration of the objective world values. The world image comes to a human being in the process of perception, evaluation, understanding inner spiritual work. It is possible to build up a typology of language and conceptual world views. It only depends on the fact that who the subject of perception is: an adult or a child. The object of perception may be global or local world view. Global world view is presented by philosophical, scientific, religious world views. Local world view is presented by sociological, informational, physical, artistic world views. Scientific world view isn’t stable; its present state is the ideal state of the present characteristic of the stage of scientific development and achievements. It changes historically with the change of paradigm of knowledge.

Conceptual world view is very rich; it covers a lot of things. It contains and consists of different communicative types of thinking, verbal and nonverbal things. It goes back to Humboldt’s philosophy of the essence of the language. According to Humboldt, any language is the spirit of the people speaking it. This probably is based on the fact that the inner forms of the language and the conceptual world view behind the language are connected and realized through the language. Language participates in two processes:

  1. It forms the world view behind the language;

  2. It reflects and expresses other world views.

Language is a complicated thing. It is variable, changeable, unstable, but it contains some stable elements contributing to a better understanding among people.

The most important sphere of a man’s and a woman’s personality is the sphere of emotions. It is the sphere of psychology and emotive evaluations. Emotional world of a man is one of the local world views behind the language. The act of cognition is emotionally colored. Emotions cover all spheres of human activities. They are very important when we speak of a human’s factor in the language. The picture of the world isn’t only the world view behind the language, but first of all, it is the subjective world view of the real world created in the head of a man.

The objective world is endless, but a man is limited in the process of cognition. Any world view behind the language contains personal subjective cognition of the world. That is why we speak of personal, subjective interpretation of the objective world. The language world view may be investigated in two aspects:

  1. Static;

  2. Dynamic

The first presents the world view behind the language as the result of the process that has already taken place. The second approach helps to understand how the world view behind the language is formed with the help of different language means. A man is a dynamic active human being. He fulfills three different types of actions: physical, intellectual, speaking. A man reacts to the outer and the inner pressure which may be found in different states of activities: perception, expressing wishes, points of view, emotions and feelings. Every type of activity, states of mood, reactions are governed by certain systems located in the organs of a human body, which reacts to the outer pressure.

    1. Definition and function of euphemisms

A euphemism is a substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener, or in the case of doublespeak, to make it less troublesome for the speaker.[citation needed] It also may be a substitution of a description of something or someone rather than the name, to avoid revealing secret, holy, or sacred names to the uninitiated, or to obscure the identity of the subject of a conversation from potential eavesdroppers. Some euphemisms are intended to be funny.

Euphemism, as is known, is a word or phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one, for example, the word 'to die' has bred the following euphemisms: to pass away, to expire, to be no more, to depart, to join the majority, to be gone, and the more facetious ones: to kick the bucket, to give up the ghost. So euphemisms are synonyms which aim at producing a deliberately mild effect. Euphemism is sometimes figuratively called "a whitewashing device". The linguistic peculiarity of euphemism lies in the fact that every euphemism must call up a definite synonym in the mind of the reader or listener.

Many euphemisms are so delightfully ridiculous that everyone laughs at them. (Well, almost everyone: The people who call themselves the National Selected Morticians usually manage to keep from smiling. ) Yet euphemisms have very serious reasons for being. They conceal the things people fear the most—death, the dead, the supernatural. They cover up the facts of life—of sex and reproduction and excretion—which inevitably remind even the most refined people that they are made of clay, or worse. They are beloved by individuals and institutions (governments, especially) who are anxious to present only the handsomest possible images of themselves to the world. And they are embedded so deeply in our language that few of us, even those who pride themselves on being plainspoken, ever get through a day without using them.

The same sophisticates who look down their noses at little boys' room and other euphemisms of that ilk will nevertheless say that they are going to the bathroom when no bath is intended,- that Mary has been sleeping around even though she has been getting precious little shut-eye,- that John has passed away or even departed (as if he'd just made the last train to Darien),- and that Sam and Janet are friends, which sounds a lot better than "illicit lovers."

Thus, euphemisms are society's basic lingua non franca. As such, they are outward and visible signs of our inward anxieties, conflicts, fears, and shames. They are like radioactive isotopes. By tracing them, it is possible to see what has been (and is) going on in our language, our minds, and our culture.

A euphemism is the substitution of an inoffensive expression, or one with favorable associations, for an expression that may offend because of its disagreeable associations.

Pass away is a euphemism for die , put (animals) to sleep for kill , perspire for sweat, nurse for suckle, agent for spy, dentures for false teeth .

Euphemisms are particularly common for the process of reproduction and excretion and for activities, people, and bodily parts involved in those processes. People vary in what they consider to be offensive, and toleration for blunt language also varies from period to period. A euphemism may eventually acquire unpleasant associations and give way to later euphemisms: toilet and lavatory , themselves euphemisms, are frequently replaced by othe euphemisms, such as cloakroom.



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