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    浅谈英语委婉语及其社会影响

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    [Abstract] Language communication is an important method to maintain social relationship, so people often use the indirect or pleasant expressions in the place of those considered unpleasant, rude or offensive in communication. It is not only a linguistic phenomenon, but also a kind of social phenomenon and cultural phenomenon. It reflects some kinds of corresponding cultural traditions. This paper mainly focuses on the ways of expression, the major function and the social influence of euphemism in English. And the first part elaborates upon the different expressions of euphemism in English, divided into four parts: figure of speech, semantic method, the variety of pronunciation and spelling form and grammar. And then it makes study the appliance of euphemism on three functions: avoidance, courtesy, disguise in social life, and discusses the positive and negative influences of euphemism. To know these could help us to understand the mode of thinking, social values, moral concepts, and cultural traditions in English-speaking country, and could improve our language communicative ability.
     
    [Key words]: Euphemism, application, social influence, positive, negative 
     

    【摘  要】 语言交际是人类以维系社会关系的重要手段,因而人们在交际中通常避免使用引起双方不快从而损害双方关系的语言,而是采取迂回曲折的方法来表达思想,交流信息,它不仅是种语言现象,而且是社会现象和文化现象。委婉语言体现了相应的社会文化传统。本文主要阐述了英语委婉语的构成方法以及它的社会影响,并着重从修辞手段,语义手段,构词手段及语法手段对委婉语言作了较全面的分析,并对委婉语在交际中的语用功能和表达方式做了一些探讨,从委婉语的“避讳”功能,“礼貌”功能和“掩饰”功能三个方面探讨了委婉语在社会生活中的运用,了解委婉语在运用中的积极作用和消极作用, 有助于我们更深入的了解英语国家人们的思维方式、社会价值观、道德观以及文化风俗,对于提高自身言语交际功能是十分必要的。

    【关键词】 委婉语; 运用; 社会影响; 积极;消极

    1. Introduction
        Euphemism is originally from Greek, meaning, “speak with gook words”. “eu” means “well or sounding well”; “pheme” means “speech”. Its definition in Oxford English Dictionary is “(example of the) use of pleasant, mild, or indirect words or phrases in place of more accurate or direct ones.”[1]
       The appearance of euphemism is based on two reasons: one aims to take the place of “taboo”. When giving up a taboo word, people will find another new one to take the place of it, which creates a euphemism. The other aims to avoid offensiveness during the communication. It is a figure of rhetoric by which an unpleasant or offensive thing is described or referred to by a milder term.
        In English language, euphemism is widely used in the daily communications. In order to achieve the aim of “taboo”, it is used to avoid the unpleasant thing; in order to achieve the aim of “politeness”, it is used to avoid the inelegant things[2],  which are the two social psychological basis of the emergence of euphemism. Euphemism is one of the important parts of figure of speech. It is not only a linguistic phenomenon, but also a kind of social phenomenon and cultural phenomenon. Euphemism in use differs from person to person, from profession to profession, even from class to class[3] , That’s why sometimes the meaning of some euphemisms will puzzle you if you do not know the background of English culture. To grasp the English euphemism can not only help us open our eyes, but strengthen our ability of reading comprehension. This paper aims to discuss the application of euphemism in English and to make acknowledge of its social influence, which could help us use euphemism in a correct way.

    2. Ways to express euphemism
    2.1. Figure of speech
    2.1.1. Metonymy.
    That is to use the general words to take the place of the concrete words. “Passed away” which refers to “dead” belongs to metonymy. It can be divided into the following forms: 1) to use the container to take the place of the things in the container. For example: “to be fond of the bottle” is a euphemism for “liking to drink”. 2) To use the entirety instead of the part. For example: “abdomen” is used to refer to “belly”; “limb” refers to “leg”. For some special occasions, the part can be used instead of the entirety. In Australian English “an old hand” is a euphemism for “an old prisoner”. 3) To use the tools to take the place of the objects. For example, “pick” is a tool of prying the lock. It can refer to “thief”. 4) To use raw materials to take the place of finished products. For instance, “poppy” is a kind of flower, but it also refers to “opium”. 5) To use characteristics to take the place of objects. For example, “hellow” is a greeting word, and it is also a euphemism for “prostitute” because prostitutes often use this word to solicit the whoremasters; “blood and iron” is a euphemism for “violence”. 6) To use proper words to replace the objects. For example, “napoleon” is a French golden coin on which there is Napoleon’s head portrait. “Borstal” is a name of countryside in Kent in Britain. It can also refer to “juvenile delinquency”.
           Sometimes, some euphemisms are frequently used instead of the original words; people gradually forget their euphemistic identities. They are not used in terms of euphemisms but have their own independent meanings. For instance, take above-mentioned “poppy”, now if you look up this word in the dictionary, you can find the meaning of “opium”, it has lost its euphemistic function. And, if you do not know the background, you can not know the meaning of “Napoleon” and “Borstal”. Therefore, we can see the importance of knowing the background of English culture. It can help you a lot to recognize and understand the real meaning of euphemism and make good use of it.
    2.1.2. Metaphor
           To use metaphor can easily avoid the offensive things. For example, wherefore it is better to be a guest of the law, which, though conducted by rules, does not meddle unduly with a gentleman’s private affairs. (O. Henry, The Cop and the Anthem) “to be a guest of the law” is a euphemism for “to be in prison”[4],   Many euphemisms for “death” were created by way of metaphor, such as going to his long home, to be home and free, to go to sleep, to sleep the long (or eternal, never-ending) sleep, to rest in peace, to be at rest, to go to Heaven (or Paradise), to join one’s ancestors, to be gathered to one’s fathers, to join the immortals. More examples are: aged→sunset years, to be poor→to be pinched, to have improper sexual intercourse with girls(especially maiden) →to deflower; to degenerate→to go astray; breast→milk bottles; catamenia→the red flag; to be pregnant→to be on the nest; the money of bribery→grease; to bribe→to grease somebody’s palm; handcuffs→bracelets.
    2.1.3 Personification
           People’s names are often used to replace taboo words. For example, “Big Harry” refers to “heroin” because “Harry” and “heroin” have the same initials. “Lavatory” also has many euphemistical expressions. In 19th century, it was called “ my aunt Jones”, “Mrs. Jones”, “Sir John”, “Sir Harry”, “the Henry”, while in 20th century, it was called “jakes”, “john” etc. But the latter color of personification becomes weak. The first letter can be written in small letter. People just use it as a common noun. In fact, they have lost the euphemistic function. There are many humorous ways to express catamenia in terms of personification: 1) My friend has come. 2) I have a visitor. 3) My cousins/country cousins have come. 4) My auntie/grandmother has come to stay. 5) Little sister is here. 6) I’ve got painters in. 7) the cardinal has come.
    2.1.4. Analogy
           In the euphemisms for occupation people often use analogy, which makes the humble name more elegant[5] , For example, “chef” is a euphemism for “cook”. It is borrowed from French word “chef de cuisine”. “Beautician” refers to “hairdresser”; “garbologist” refers to “garbage collector”; “mortician” refers to “undertaker”. There also appeared some beautiful names for barbershop: hair salon, beauty parlour, and stylist parlour.
    2.1.5. Ellipsis
           That is to omit the offensive words while speaking, such as to be expecting (a baby), to have (sexual) relations with somebody, to take precautions (against pregnancy), to depart (from this world). Of course, such phrases should be put into a certain context, which can express the meaning of euphemisms.
    2.1.6. Periphrasis
    It is an expression of beating around the bush. Though it is a muddled acting, its aim is to avoid offending others, and to be more polite[6]. If someone asked a woman whether she was knitting a tiny garment, he meant that he wondered whether she was pregnant. Such way of speaking is humorous, sweet and agreeable, such as to die→to close one’s eyes, to expire, to breathe one’s last; to defecate and to urinate→to wash one’s hands, to ease or relieve oneself, to do one’s business; to court→to go walking; to be pregnant→to eat for two; lavatory→washroom, cloakroom; fart→wind from behind; women’s underclothes→unmentionables; trousers→nether garments; ask you to go away→call your carriage for you; to dismiss→to give somebody the sack; to be in prison→to live at the government's expense. Teachers often use this expression to avoid the students’ and their parents’ awkwardness. For example, laziness is called “needing ample supervision in order to work well”; “cheat” is described as “needing help in learning to adhere to rules and standards of fair play”; “lies” is called “showing difficulty in distinguishing between imaginary and factual material”; “steal” is called “needing help in learning to respect the property rights of others”; “be a bully” refers to “having qualities of leadership but needs help in learning to use them democratically”; “dirty” is called “ be lack of proper health habits”.[7]
    2.2. Semantic method
    2.2.1. Synonym
            For example, “tight” is used instead of “stingy”; “thrift” is used instead of “economical”,“defecate” replaces “shift” and “urine” replaces “piss” . And “mad” is replaced by “crazy”, “insane”, and “lunatic”. Such euphemism aims to use the appreciative term to take the place of the derogatory term.
    2.2.2. Negation
           Such euphemism uses the contrary term to express the same meaning, and it could be more useful than synonym in replacing the taboo and make people more understandable and comfortable. We could call stupid people unwise people. “A fat chance” means “a slim chance”and “find words” stands for “bad words”
    2.2.3. Vague words and expressions
           That is to make the harsher or offensive words more general. For example, if somebody has some mental problems, we can express it like this: His roof leaks a little; he has a screw loose/missing; he is not at home. There are other examples which use vague expressions, such as disease→trouble, problem; to come across an unfortunate thing→to have an accident; V. D. (venereal disease) →secret disease; to live together illegally→to cohabit; intrauterine device→ring; to rape somebody→to do violence to somebody; prostitute→a woman of the streets, a woman of a certain class, a painted woman, a lady of the night girl; to entertain whorehouse visitors→to see company; whorehouse→house; a squint→an obliquity of vision; a man of bad taste→a man of doubtful taste; strike→industrial action; the poor→the underprivileged, the disadvantaged; in debt→in difficulties; buttocks→behind, bottom, backsides; homosexual→queer; sexual intercourse→intimacy; to be killed→to be put to sleep.
    2.2.4. Loan words
    Because from the period of Renaissance, Latin, Greek, and French are considered as cultured words[8]. People consider that those languages are more elegant, tactful and ambiguous. In the early 19th century, no matter in Britain or America, people used French word “enceinte” instead of English word “pregnant”. It is popular till now because the former is more elegant, tactful and ambiguous. English borrows words not only from French but also from other languages in many kinds of ways to create its own euphemism. For example, “lavatory” was borrowed from Latin word “lavatorium”, but it lost its meaning of euphemism because of long- time using. Therefore, people borrowed another euphemism from French “toilette” which was respelled into “toilet”, and it became the most popular euphemism referring to lavatory. French words “chemise” and “lingerie” are euphemisms for “underwear” and “blouse” respectively. “sushi” was borrowed from Japanese “すし”. Its original meaning is a kind of Japanese food. People put it into a phrase “a little tongue sushi”, which means “tongue kissing”. The above words mostly belong to the common vocabulary. In addition, euphemisms also borrow some science and technological words and academic words that are cold, clinic and antiseptic. Such words are mainly from Latin and Greek. For example, Latin word “coitus” is a euphemism for “fuck”; Native words “shit” and “piss” are all dirty words, while Latin word “defecation” and Greek word “urination” are all accepted easily.
    2.2.5. Understatement
           That is to state some serious things in a temperate way in order to avoid being awkward and strident[9]  . For example, “She was neither quite pretty nor quiet plain.” “Plain” is used instead of “ugly”; “My cousin Jimmy was a bit soft in the head.” “Soft in the head” means “mad”; “The boy used to take things without permission and has just been out of the rehabilitation home in the country.” (steal, detention home); the period of economic depression→a period of economic adjustment; money for bribery→kickback, commission; poor families→low income families; falling behind→less advanced; retarded children→less able children; an ugly girl→a plain or homely girl; disabled→physically handicapped; to be ill→to look off color, to feel unwell or uncomfortable; treatment→health care; old age→advanced in age.
    2.3. The variety of pronunciation and spelling form
           English is an alphabetic writing. The variation of phonetic form can avoid the original conception in a certain degree and achieve the purpose of euphemism. 1) Compounding: gezunda (goes under). 2) Acronym: DA (drug addict), KG (know gambler), B.O.T (balance of time), J.D (juvenile delinquent), P and Q (peace and quiet). 3) Back-formation: burgle (burgler) 4) chipping: vamp (vampire), homo   (homosexual), gents (Gentlemen’s Room), and ladies (Ladies Room)[10].
    There is an interesting example: “laboratory”, the original stress was on the first syllable. But it sounded similarly to “lavatory”. In order to avoid the unpleasant connection, the stress was moved to the second syllable. Such phenomenon is called Assonance. That is to make use of or to create words, which have the same or similar pronunciations with euphemistic words in order to achieve the purpose of euphemism. Therefore, in English there is a way of personification to express “catamenia”: The captain is at home. It is because “captain” is assonant with the medical science term “catamenia”. In oral English, “pee” is used to refer to “piss”, which has the same reason.
    2.4. Grammar
    That is to use past tense, negative sentence to express euphemism. For example, I can see by your face that you don’t think that was wise. The negative form means “thinking that was foolish”; “How do we feel today?” Using “we” instead of “you” shows the moderation and geniality. “I wanted to…” “I wondered…” often take the place of “I want to…” “I wonder…” Such expression is often used in oral English.[11]

    3 The Social Influences of Euphemism
    Euphemism is widely used in America and Britain. It has a long history. New euphemisms emerge in an endless stream. According to its applied functions, I’d like to divide it into three parts: Avoidance, Courtesy and Disguise. Through studying the three functions, we can understand the western society’s view on value and morality.
    3.1. Avoidance
    The earliest subject of Euphemism is religious[12]. The conception of taboo is deep-rooted in people’s mind, and it is not easy to remove. The appearance of taboo could date back to ancient Greek and ancient Roman. In human’s eyes God owns a super power that could control everything. Because fearing of the secret power, People use euphemism to avoid mentioning the guilty, unpleasant, rude or offensive words, which plays a role of purifying languages. For example, European Americans avoid speaking “Friday” and “13”. When the two things appear in the same day, it is an ill omen. And there is an example: there appeared an episode in 1972 when President Nicoson visited China. Chinese Premier Zhou went to Shanghai to receive American visitors. He found that Mr. and Mrs. Nicoson were arranged to live in Room15, Kissinger in Room14, but some state councilors in Room13? The Western people often take Number 13 as a taboo. After entering their apartments, Premier Zhou was aware that these Western visitors seemed unhappy. So he explained:” it is a pity that we have made a serious mistake. We ignored the special Western culture.” He continued,” There was an old Chinese fable that when a man was afraid of ghost, the more he thought, the more he felt terrified. At the time he felt no fear, he began to look for the ghost, but the ghost disappeared…Number 13 in Western culture looked like the Chinese ghost.” Hearing his story, the American visitors laughed heartily. At last they cooled down. From this example, we can realize the necessity of the cultural infiltration in language communication. So we must pay attention to the social influence of euphemism. This avoidance function is the first communication function of euphemisms[13]. Such function is often used in the following situations:

    3.1.1. The euphemisms for God and devil
        The Ten Commandments of Bible has prescribed, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” That’s why there are so many euphemisms. In oral English, using “God” causally would be considered blasphmous. If someone say “God damni it” he is treason and heresy, and would be punished [14] . Some of them adopt the semantic method, such as the Creator, the Maker, the Supreme (Being), Holy One, the Almighty, the Eternal, Our Father, the Saviour, King of Kings, Lord of lords, the Light of the World, Sovereign of the Universe. Some of them adopt the phonetic method, such as Gad, Gosh, Golly, Godfrey etc. There are many euphemisms for “the devil”, such as old enemy, old Ned, Old Nick, Old One, Ole’un (Old Man), Old Scratch, Old Serpent, the Old Boy etc. For example, “He was frightened as if Old Harry were before him.” In English they often use “heck” instead of “hell”. “hell” has other expressions: “the other place, a very uncomfortable place, the other way etc.” For example, “We were all going direct to Heaven; we were all going direct the other way.” [15]
    3.1.2 The euphemisms for death
    Euphemism is often caused in speaking of things that are painful and distressing to think about. Death is one of expressions. The euphemisms for death are a widely used item, especially when it concerns one’s own families and friends. It has a lot of expressions[16]. For example, if anything should happen to me (= when I die); to pass away/ on; to depart; to go to sleep; to be no longer with us; to be interred. “Death” also has some humorous expressions: “to pop off; to push up daisies; to cash in one’s chips; to kick the bucket ”. “Death” also has an intimate relationship with religion. There are many euphemisms from Bible, for example, to return to dust/ earth; to pay the debt of nature; to be called to God/ to answer the final summons; to go to heaven; to be at peace, to be asleep in the Arms of God; to yield up the ghost; to launch into eternity; to have one’s name inscribed in the Book of life etc. Some words, which concern “death”, also have euphemistic expressions. For example, “coffin” is called “casket”; “dead body” is called “earthly remains”; “funeral” is called “memorial service”; “graveyard” is called “memory garden”.
    3.1.3. The euphemisms for illness, natural and man-made calamities
        Most westerners avoid talking about some serious diseases. For instance, “terminally ill” is a euphemism for “cancer”; American and British newspapers often name “syphilis” as “social disease”; “leprosy” is called “Hansen’s disease”; “constipation” is called “irregularity”. “tumour” is called “a growth”; “commit suicide” is called “self-deliverance or self-violence”. People often use initialing to avoid talk about some diseases directly, such as AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome); Big C (Cancer); VD (Venereal Disease) etc. “to die because of a crash” is called “old Newton took him”; “hara-kiri” is called “happy dispatch”; “an unnatural death” is called “to be blown across the creek”
    3.1.4. The euphemisms for sex
        Nearly all languages consider “sex” a taboo word. In the west, when children asked their parents where they came from, their parents often answered the baby was a visit from the stork. People can say “pregnant” instead of “expecting” or “in the family way”; “fart” is also written into the dictionary. You can say it directly instead of saying, “wind from behind” It is just because of the movement of “sex liberty” and “sex liberation”. People can have a freer talk about “sex” than Victorian age. On the contrary, some other new euphemisms for sex appeared one after another. “Sexual knowledge” is called “facts of life”; “pornographic movies” is called “adult films”; “cohabitation” has become very common in western society. It is also called a kind of marriage: “trial marriage” or “unmarried wife”. Nevertheless, with the sharp increase of the rate of divorce, there appeared many euphemisms for divorce: “to break up”, “to split up, and “matchruptcy” (a blending of “match” and “bankruptcy”). And the homosexuality would be called “Greek arts”, “queer”, “gay”. There is another interesting phrase “to go to Reno”. “Reno”, a small city in the west of Nevada, is famous for its easy and fast procedures of divorce. So “to go to Reno” also becomes a euphemism for divorce.
    3.1.5. The euphemisms for birth
        Contrary to the Chinese traditional opinion, in western countries, “being pregnant” and “having a baby” are not considered “a blessed event”. Australian English even call it “a blasted event”. In America, “to wear the apron high”, “to wear/have the belly high” are euphemisms for “to be pregnant”, while in Britain, “to wear the bustle wrong” is a euphemism for “to be pregnant”. In 19th century, a slim waist is the ideal figure for British women. Therefore, “to be pregnant” is also called “to be awkward”, “in a bad way/shape”; “to make a woman pregnant” is called “to spoil/ruin a woman’s shape”. Some one even called “to be pregnant” “to be caught” or “to be fallen”. Some vague expressions also show a kind of restless mood, such as: that way, in a certain/particular/delicate condition etc. The use of humor is another feature of euphemism for “being pregnant”. American people are likely to say “to have a watermelon on the vine”, or “to swallow a watermelon seed”. British people are likely to say “to have a bun in the oven” or “to have an Irish toothache” (to make fun of Irish people who are pregnant as commonly as having a toothache).
    3.2. Courtesy
       Another reason to use euphemism is that it avoids the harsh and direct word in a polite way, and makes the sentence sound more pleasant. To grasp the polite function of euphemism can help you build a good relationship with others. The polite functions are especially reflected in the occupations, or trades. It relate with Politeness Principle of Leech[17]. It is obvious that advertisement is aimed at helping businessmen propaganda their goods, for the sake of soliciting customs. As a pleasant way, using euphemisms in advertisements has become more and more widespread. Now, “secondhand store” has been replaced by “resale store”, “super”, “giant”, “special”, such words, have become more popular. Moreover, we can often see the same phenomenon about the expressions for classes of cabins. To defend passengers ’honor, “First Class” is changed to “Deluxe Class”, “Second Class” is to “First Class”, “Third Class” to “Business Class”, and “Economic Class” to “Tourist Class”. This function undoubtly plays an active role of improving the progress of society:
    3.2.1. The euphemism for the office and trade
        For example, “mental hospital or mental health center” is a euphemism for “madhouse”; “mortuary or funeral” is a euphemism of dead house. Some small companies or small enterprises like to use the word “industry”, such as hotel industry, tourist industry, garage industry, women’s beauty industry etc.
    3.2.2. The euphemism for occupation
        In order to promote the social status of the occupation, almost every humble occupation has a sweet-sounding name. There are mainly two forms:
    1). Compound. That is to choose some sweet-sounding occupational names to make up compound or compound phrases. For example, today we can find many occupations in America and Britain named with “engineer”: sanitary (or sanitation) engineer; building (custodian, dwelling) engineer; automobile engineer; dry cleaning engineer, pipe engineer; heating engineer; packing engineer; sales engineer; housewife→domestic engineer; the person who is in charge of killing mice and cockroaches→exterminating(extermination) engineer. There are some other common titles: automotive repairman→automotive internist; garden worker→landscape architect; prison guard→correctional officer; pest-killer→pest control operator; butcher→meat technologist. Some humble occupations have many euphemistic names at the same time. For example, people often call “hair stylist” “tonsorial artist”, while people call “female hairdresser” “woman surgeon”; “undertaker” also has many expressions: bereavement counselor, grief therapist, funeral director, funeral service practitioner. Besides “engineer” housewife also can be called “household executive”, “homemaker”, even “domestic manager”; “Prostitute” also has many euphemisms, such as pavement princess, working girl, streetwalker, call girl, business girl etc.
    2). Derivation. That is to choose some Latin and Greek prefixes whose meanings refer to “a person”, such as “-(o) logist”. “mixologist” is a euphemism for “a bar’s waiter”; dustman for garbologist; female hairdresser for cosmetologist; undertaker for mortician; cobbler for shoetrician; locksmith for locktician. Some special occupational names have adopted two prefixes. For example cosmetologist and cosmetician both refer to “female hairdresser”. Moreover, Latin prefix “-arian” is originally used in religion, but now it is also used in the occupation, such as: bartarian, sanitarian. Another Latin prefix “-ian” is also used popularly, such as custodian (entrance guard or dustman). Some people even want to change the native prefix “-er” to the Latin prefix “-or” because they think the foreign prefix is more elegant and sweet-sounding, such as weldor, wild animal trainor.
    3.2.3. The euphemisms for the aged and weight
        The age, especially a woman’s age is regarded as a sensitive privacy. And most of the western people are afraid of getting old, so they call “old people” “senior citizens”. ”old age” and “senility” can easily cause the fear of the old people. Some euphemistic expressions take the place of them, such as “getting on (in years), past one’s prime, feeling one’s age, second childhood, a distinguished gentleman, a grande dame, third age”. The old people become “an elder statesman” or “old age pensioner” or even use initialing “OAP”. They are not “old” but “long-lived”. Old people’s home, of course, is not an ideal place for old men to live in. There are many euphemistic expressions: a home for adults, a nursing home, a rest home, a private hospital, a convalescent hospital. The old people who live there are called euphemistically “a resident”.
        In western country, it is very impolite if you talk about someone’s figure and weight without reservation. If someone is “fat”, “overweight” is often used to replace it. “weight-watchers” is also a euphemism for “fat people”. To female, “a fat girl” is called “a fuller figure or plump”; to male, “fat” is called “stout”; to child, it is called “chubby”. On the contrary, if someone is too thin, euphemism is also used. To male, it is called “lean”, and to female, it is called “slim, slender, willowy or svelte”.
    3.2.4. The euphemisms for poverty and unemployment
        The topic of poverty and unemployment might cause some embarrassment, so people often use euphemism when their talks concern such things. For example, “dismissal” is often called “lay off, ease out, get the walking ticket/pink slip”; “bankruptcy” is called “out of the game”; “penniless” is called “out of pocket, in reduced circumstances, badly off, needy etc.”; “the poor people” is called “the have-nots, the underprivileged, the disadvantaged”; even their houses also have a sweet-sounding name-“substandard housing”. The euphemism for unemployment has many expressions. Most of them are humorous, such as “between jobs”, “between shows”, “to be developing a new project”, “to receive a Mexican raise/ an Irish promotion” (to raise a promotion without raising the salary), “to be self-employed”. In America “unemployed men” are called “claimants”, while, in Britain, they are called “to be on public assistance”. Of course, some euphemisms are pessimistic: The British unemployed men can take 50 percent off the ticket of a film and a drama, so they also can be called “the less fortunate”.
    3.2.5. The euphemisms for excretion
        All words concerning “excretion” except tears are considered taboo words. The euphemisms for “lavatory” have many ways of expressions, such as water closet, cloakroom, comfort station, toilet (which is popular in Britain), restroom (which is generally used in America). In America, “convenience station” is written English, while “bathroom” is oral English. “John” is slang, while “poet’s corner” is a crack joke. In Britain, they use “Jakes” instead of “John”. They use “public comfort station” instead of “public convenience station”. Men’s lavatory is called “Gent’s, the John, the washroom”; Women’s lavatory is called “Ladies’, the powder room, powder one’s nose (Br.); powder one’s puff (Am.); Mrs. Jones”. There are also many ways to express “urination” and “defecation”, such as, to go to the bathroom/ restroom/ powder room, to do one’s business, to answer nature’s call.   .     
    There are other expressions. For instance, I have to retire for a moment. / I would like to be excused. Interrogative sentences can also be used: Where is the restroom? Where can I wash my hands? Ladies can say, “I’d like to add some makeup.” in order to avoid the awkwardness.
    3.3. Disguise
       Opposite to the positive influences of euphemism, there are some different sayings about it. Some people condemn euphemisms as demoralizing because of its hypocrisy while others like Hilaire Belloc consider them a ‘psychological necessity”[18]. One of the most important reasons is that euphemism is used to conceal some scandalous behaviors and crimes. Therefore, euphemism can also bring about the negative influences, which are embodied in the following two aspects according to its concealing function:
    3.3.1. The euphemisms for the requirements of politics and war.
    Because of the requirements of politics and war, the British and American politicians used some euphemisms to conceal the internal truth, and cheat the public. For example, the “Water Gate” is called “scenario” [19]. Some American writers criticized that these euphemisms created from the “Water Gate” were demoralizing and hypocritical. “Time” even said directly, “These euphemisms all tell it like it isn’t.” [20] The person who steals the information is called “plumber”; The person who is against government is often called “dissidents”; American and British people name “riot” as “disturbance” or “disorder”; “strike” is called “walk-out, down tools, industrial action or industrial dispute”; “economic crises” is called “recession” or “depression”. In the aspect of military affair, “the number of the dead” is called “body count”; “aggression” is called “pre-emptive action” or “involvement”; “rout” is called “phased withdrawal”、“strategic withdrawal”、“light and scattered action” or “break off contact with enemy”. The euphemisms for “to kill” are often called “to take care of, to dispose of, to remove, to rub out, to puff out, to put away, to touch off etc.” “U.S. overseas military employment” is called “American presence”; “civilian casualties” is called “collateral damage”; “bombing and blasting” is called “softening up the resistance”. People seldom mention “nuclear weapons”, but “an anti-personnel weapon”. “Non-nuclear weapon” is called “a conventional weapon”. American media called their invasion to Haiti by their marines “an incident”, called the investigation of American airplanes in Russian territorial air space “an over flight”. We can see the concealing function of euphemisms becomes the needs of the struggle, the tool of cheating people.
    3.3.2. The euphemisms for crime
        Crime is also a very sensitive topic. The judge can say, “I hereby sentence you to five years in prison.” While the families and friends of the criminal are likely to use the euphemistic expression, such as “to send to the big house, to send up the river, to be living at the government’s expense.” “juvenile delinquents” is a euphemism for “young criminals”; “prison” is called “correctional center”; “burglary” is called “surreptitious entry”; “rape” is called “criminal assault”; “the officer’s act of stealing or embezzling” is called “They misuse public funds.” “Death penalty” is called “capital punishment”.
    3.4. The countries’ names as euphemism
        In English, there is another special euphemistic expression. That is to use other countries’ names instead of some harsher or more offensive words. The appearance of these euphemisms is mostly because of the historic and cultural reasons. For instance, because French had ruled Britain, British people like to make fun of the French. They called “syphilis” “the French disease”. “French letter” is a euphemism for “condom”; “abortive pill” is called “French lunar pill”; “pornographic novels/prints” is called “French novels (prints)”. It seems that the French does all the bad things. In 17th century, the war between Britain and Dutch also led to a lot of anti-Dutch words, including euphemisms. “Prostitute” is called “Dutch widow”; “commit suicide” is called “Dutch act/cure”; “Dutch courage” is an “artificial courage”; “Dutch cheer” is a euphemism for “liquor”. It was said that the Dutch often drank some liquor to build up their courage. Besides French and Dutch, Britain also makes fun of other countries. “Condom” has other euphemistic expressions in terms of country’s name, such as Spanish letter, American letter, and Italian letter. “Abortive pill” is also called “Portuguese female pill”; “Russian roulette” is a euphemism for “to intend to commit suicide”; “Mexican raise. Irish promotion” means “to be dismissed”; “Egyptian physical training” means “to sleep at daytime”; “Chinese” is also included in this usage, and it refers to a kind of “heroin”. “Chinese white” is a euphemism for “spirited heroin”; “Chinese red” also refers to “heroin”. In a word, the British and the American relate a lot of offensive things with other countries’ names. That is why “exotic” has the meaning of “erotic”. “Exotic club” became the “striptease night club”; “exotic dancer” became the “go-go dancer”. Besides English, other western countries also have such euphemistic phenomena. In fact, it is Linguistic Chauvinism.
     
    4. Conclusion
    Euphemism appears with false appearance, and exerts a subtle influence on exposing the truth. That is to use the neutral or pleasant words to express some awkward or offensive contents. As to the English learners, we should not only pay attention to its application on appropriate occasions, but to its influences. Its active functions can coordinate the interpersonal relationships, release the contradictions and avoid the conflicts. The negative functions are to confound right and wrong, beautify the shameful behaviors and conceal the essence. Language itself has not the class character, but different people, political parties and countries can consider it a tool to serve for them. That is why someone named euphemisms as “comfortable words” or “cosmetic words”. In daily life, we should pay attention to the influences that the active and negative functions of euphemisms bring us, and keep the negative functions from corrupting our thoughts.


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