A Study of Euphemisms in the Context of English-speaking Media

Alireza Hojati

Abstract


Euphemisms are frequently used by speakers of different languages to soften the impact of concepts with the potential to cause offence and social disapproval. Today, the use of euphemisms has increased by the media and new and controversial euphemism have also been born. Bearing these points in mind, this study was carried out with the aim of eliciting and qualitatively examining a number of high-frequency euphemisms employed by English-speaking media. To this end, three high-profile media were selected and their news bulletins were recorded for a three-month-long period. The calculation of frequencies of different euphemisms used by the media organizations revealed that poverty- and military-related euphemism figured prominently in the news bulletins, while euphemisms dealing with economy, disability, death and sex had lower frequencies of use. The qualitative analysis of data revealed insightful points, not least the influence of current and ongoing affairs on the use of euphemisms and the involvement of other non-linguistic factors on media discourse featuring euphemisms.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v4i4.2933

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