EUPHEMISM AND DYSPHEMISM LANGUAGE USED AS SHIELD AND WEAPON PDF

About this title We all use euphemisms. We ask for directions to the "ladies room" or convey the news that someone has recently "passed away. And the same is true of offensive language, or "dysphemisms"--words used as weapons against others, or as release valves for anger and frustration. In this fascinating study, Keith Allan and Kate Burridge examine the linguistic, social, and psychological aspects of this intriguing universal practice. They cover the many shapes euphemism can take, from circumlocution and acronym to hyperbole and understatement, metaphor, and even technical jargon many medical terms ultimately derive from euphemisms--stool, for instance, comes from "go to the stool," and diabetes comes from a Greek word meaning "to go a lot," since people with diabetes urinate frequently.

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Keith Allan Book reviews we should ask ourselves what structural rules govern the distribution of the articles. Merely aesthetic or superficial rules cannot account for the obligatory presence of the definite article in generic statements in Italian but not in English, as in i castori construiscono dighe vs.

It is not enough to say that for some reason generically used nouns prefer, or better require, a definite article in Italian but not in English, since the structural position of the noun phrase also appears to play a crucial role. A more complex question is the translation from a language without articles into a language with articles.

In this case the problem is that what the source language may choose to leave ambiguous, the target language must often disambiguate. The translator, concludes L. The papers reviewed here represent only a limited selection of all the issues raised in these two books. Only for reasons of space have we disregarded the theoretical issues and the sections on the history of linguistics that represent the main part of Sulla linguistica moderna.

But they are certainly significant contributions to the understanding of central questions concerning the rela- tionship between structura! Two gifts that are not often found together. References De Mauro, Tullio, Bari: Laterza. Sabatini, Alma, Raccomandazioni per un uso non sessista della lingua italiana. Per la scuola e reditoria scolastica. Roma: Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri. I1 sessismo e la lingua italiana.

New York: Oxford University Press, Reviewed by Timothy B. Book reviews evade taboo or offensive thoughts and language. The term dysphemism, much less frequently used, concerns abusive language selected to insult or offend, rather than using more neutral words. The work is broad in the sense that it covers several different topics or referential domains. Examples of these domains are: death, men- struation, mental illness, militarese, profanity and tabooed body parts.

It is detailed with a consistent and serious linguistic analysis of this colorful language and the contexts in which it occurs. The linguistic analysis covers naming, connotation, conversational maxims, metaphor and speech acts just to name a few of these phenomena. As for the content and scope of the work, the book has ten chapters and a glossary, where many technical terms used in language research are explained.

Each chapter finishes with a more than adequate summary of the topics and issues therein. There are over works cited in the reference section. Although not explicitly designed as such, the book seems to divide into three different sections, as discussed next. The background and introduction to the work includes the preface along with chapters 1 and 2, thus beginning with the basics. The first chapter provides definitions and classifications of euphemisms, dysphemisms, euphe- mistic dysphemisms and dysphemistic euphemisms.

The second chapter exam- ines how euphemisms are used in naming and addressing other people. One reservation in this section is that while euphemisms are explained early on and clearly, dysphemisms are not examined until page It refers to a union of euphemistic and dysphemistic references, such that the x-phemism shit means the same thing as feces but each is used in different contexts.

Without a doubt the central section of the book is the most interesting and justifies the purchase of it, especially for those interested in the psychological and sociological dynamics involved with taboo word use. Chapter 3 looks at taboos on references to body emissions or effluvia, especially those related to menstruation and word taboos that are gender related. The fourth chapter focuses on taboos related to sexual activity and those associated with body parts and products.

Chapter 5 examines the language of abuse, ranging from profanity to obscenity then racism. There are several noteworthy and unique presentations in the book. The inclusion of data from many informants, who live in widely different cultures, Book reviews has certainly contributed to the richness of the material covered. Allan and Burridge have also chosen to include references from Middle Dutch medical texts to explore the past use of euphemism in discussions about the human body and its functions.

Not only does this feature expand the discussion into another non-English context but it documents how euphemisms for taboos were employed hundreds of years ago. Any reader who has savored the content of these old medical texts will appreciate their presence here. The focus on gender-related language is quite current and pertinent, as is a later analysis of the language used to describe diseases. There are some minor additions that would enhance the discussion in the central section.

However, the work of Rozin e. Rozin and Fallon has been overlooked and should be included if a later version of the book is published. Furthermore, the authors provide linguistic evidence by comparing different sentences to demonstrate that some words and references are more offensive than others. They claim by comparing sentences that shit is more dysphemistic than either prick or twat. This linguistic analysis may be sufficient for some readers but to strengthen the claim that words differ in their degree of offensiveness, they could have cited the wealth of data available in the social and behavioral sciences to provide empirical evidence of how people are offended by these terms of abuse see Jay for example.

The social science data simply may have eluded the authors and their informants because they are working generally from the linguistic field rather than within social sciences.

The final chapters of the book turn away from sexology and move toward medical or political issues chapters 6 through 8 and toward art and literary themes chapter 9. The language and references associated with the phenome- non of death and dying, common to all cultures, is the subject of chapter 6. Language associated with sickness, disease and illness is covered in the seventh chapter. In chapter 8 jargons or registers are discussed in relation to in-group and out-group distinctions.

Chapter 9 looks at euphemisms and dysphemisms related to the world of art and bawdy works. Chapter l0 covers concluding thoughts and ties up the loose ends from earlier chapters on euphemism and dysphemism. Psychologists and others interested in theories and philosophies of psycho- pathology or abnormal behavior will recognize that the authors have fallen prey to the mental illness metaphor when they discuss abnormal thought and behavior in chapter 7.

These Book reviews disorders also may be explained with other models of behavior and thought such as the psychodynamic, behavioral, phenomenological or existential models. This is one of the few flaws in the text.

In the introduction to the work, the authors state that the purpose of the book is to expose and explain the kinds of euphemistic and dysphemistic expressions that people use.

They emphasize that their book is not intended to be merely a dictionary of euphemisms and dysphemisms, noting that there are several volumes by others available to the reader. Allan and Burridge certainly have produced an analysis more lively and realistic than a static and dated dictionary-type approach. Because context, motivation and intention are so important to understanding how and why people use euphemism and dysphemism, these social and situational variables are essential to explain them.

It is the contextual and social analysis that makes the work so interesting and sets this book apart from earlier attempts.

In the final analysis, the positive features far outweigh the negative ones. The book stands as a valuable reference on the topic and should be added to the professional library of those interested in taboos on and euphemisms involved with communication, language and lexicon. The approach will fall a bit short for those interested in social science research and empirical data gathering, not a fault of the book but a limitation of the linguistic method of analysis.

References Jay, Timothy, Doing research with dirty words. Montagu, Ashley, The anatomy of swearing. New York: Macmillan. Rozin, Paul and April E. Fallon, A perspective on disgust. Psychological Review Sagarin, Edward, The anatomy of dirty words. New York: Lyle Stuart. Related Papers.

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Keith Allan Book reviews we should ask ourselves what structural rules govern the distribution of the articles. Merely aesthetic or superficial rules cannot account for the obligatory presence of the definite article in generic statements in Italian but not in English, as in i castori construiscono dighe vs. It is not enough to say that for some reason generically used nouns prefer, or better require, a definite article in Italian but not in English, since the structural position of the noun phrase also appears to play a crucial role. A more complex question is the translation from a language without articles into a language with articles.

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Euphemism & Dysphemism: Language Used As Shield And Weapon

We ask for directions to the "ladies room" or convey the news that someone has recently "passed away. And the same is true of offensive language, or "dysphemisms"--words used as weapons against others, or as release valves for anger and frustration. In this fascinating study, Keith Allan and Kate Burridge examine the linguistic, social, and psychological aspects of this intriguing universal practice. They cover the many shapes euphemism can take, from circumlocution and acronym to hyperbole and understatement, metaphor, and even technical jargon many medical terms ultimately derive from euphemisms--stool, for instance, comes from "go to the stool," and diabetes comes from a Greek word meaning "to go a lot," since people with diabetes urinate frequently. They discuss the many euphemisms and dysphemisms for tabooed body parts there are, the authors point out, at least 1, terms for vagina and 1, for penis , bodily functions, death, and disease.

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