Euphemisms in English and Serbian public discourse
MentorMišić Ilić, Biljana
Committee membersVidanović, Đorđe
Mišković Luković, Mirjana
MetadataShow full item record
The topic of the thesis is the analysis of the use of concealing euphemisms (Luchtenberg 1985: 24) in English and Serbian public discourse. Concealing euphemisms reduce the negative expressive force of the utterance/sentence, avoid dispreferred and impose preferred constructions of reality. The thesis shows that it is possible to expose a concealing euphemism by identifying a non-euphemistic alternative that can be used in the same context. In relation to this, the main aim of thesis is to show that the recognition of concealing euphemisms includes both the structural (lexico-semantic) and the interpersonal (lexico-pragmatic, epistemic and discursive) levels of analysis. The theoretical background that unifies all the levels of analysis is relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson 1995 et al.). We use the corpus-assisted qualitative analysis; the corpus is based on American, British and Serbian concealing euphemisms taken from political speeches and newspaper articles. The analysis includes... the lexicosemantic analysis, the lexico-pragmatic analysis and the analysis of discursive strategies. The results of the lexico-semantic analysis show that, in political speeches, rhetorical effects are preferred, and newspaper articles strive for more precision. The lexico-pragmatic analysis is based on the proposed pragmatic algorithm which shows that an epistemically vigilant hearer can identify a concealing euphemism by analyzing interpretive hypotheses in accordance with the information given in a specific context and type of discourse. Concealing euphemisms are also viewed as discursive strategies (Van Leeuwen 2008: 23–74). The examples of the analyzed strategies were found in all corpora; they show that the issue of responsibility and even the issue of morality of actions can be ignored. The thesis integrates cognitive, communicative, epistemic and social aspects of verbal manipulation, by means of which we provide an account of meaning construction that can be used in the interpretative stage of critical discourse analysis (Fairclough 1989 et al.), which studies representations of the world taken as common knowledge, which are actually socially instilled beliefs reproduced and perpetuated in language.