A Pragmatic Study of English Euphemisms

Title A Pragmatic Study of English Euphemisms

Euphemisms,widely and vividly used in our daily life, have already become an indispensable part of English vocabulary and have been arousing wide interest. Many linguists and scholars have studied the linguistic phenomenon from different angles. Based on their achievements, the author will have an exploration of the principles and ways of using English euphemisms and their functions in communication from a pragmatic perspective.English euphemism as a linguistic concept is also a cultural phenomenon. Therefore, it has close relationships with the western culture, and it truly reflects the life and values of English people through history. The author firstly traces back to the history of English euphemisms and analyzes the definition, classification, the ways and principles of their formation. The thesis focuses on the pragmatic analysis of English euphemisms including their pragmatic functions and characteristics, the principles and ways of using them. English euphemisms have mainly five functions, namely, evasive function, indirect function, cosmetic function, politeness function and defensive function and four characteristics, they are universality, cultural specificity, obscurity and diachrony.Euphemisms should observe three Basic pragmatic principles: CP, PP and Face Theory. The maxims of the Cooperative Principle require people to speak sincerely, relevantly, and clearly while providing sufficient information, but they are not always strictly followed. People may violate them for a variety of reasons. The violations can generate conversational implicatures which allow the speaker to convey meaning beyond what is literally expressed. English euphemisms, as a deviation from the conventional use of language, achieve their effects in communication by flouting one or more maxims of the CP. The Politeness Principle is supposed to collaborate with and even rescue the CP and its maxims. By the PP, behind the deviation lies people’s desire to be polite. In some sense, it can be said that euphemisms result from the intentional violation of the maxims of the CP and the observation of the PP.The highest standard of language communication is language appropriateness. The speaker cannot threaten the face of the listener, or the speaker’s own face will be threatened. To save face of the speaker and the hearer, pragmatic strategies must be used in language communication. One effective way of saving face is to use euphemisms. The nature of euphemisms lies in its indirectness, which is referred to as indirect speech act by many researchers. This thesis will demonstrate that euphemisms and indirect speech act are not exactly the same. In fact, they overlap each other.Euphemisms are an indispensable part of people’s vocabulary in their Social communication. However, an excessive use of euphemisms may have negative effects, which may lead to misunderstanding or miscommunication or even pragmatic failure. Therefore, to be well understood and to achieve successful communication, people should use it appropriately in a given context.As a common cultural phenomenon, euphemisms reflect a nation’s history development, changes in the fields of politics, economy, culture and consciousness. To a great extent, the application of English euphemisms takes the affective factors into consideration. However, the importance of affective factors in language teaching cannot be neglected. Therefore, applying English euphemisms appropriately and effectively in English teaching is of great practical significance.The theoretical significance of this thesis lies in the systematic analysis of English euphemisms by adopting such pragmatic theories like CP, PP, Face Theory and context. And the practical significance lies in the fact that the findings can be applied to cross-cultural communication to avoid pragmatic failure and to ensure successful message exchange.

Category Language
Subject Communication, English Euphemisms, pragmatics, teaching,
FileType PDF
Pages 153
Price US$48.00
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