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. They describe euphemisms used to avoid religious blasphemy, from the archaic "egad" and "zounds" and "gadzooks" to the modern equivalents, such as "Jiminy Cricket" and "golly" or "gosh. With thousands of examples drawn from speech, literature, newspapers, television, and film, Allan and Burridge invite us all to ponder and enjoy the creative products of the human mind as it confronts the problem of talking in different contexts about sex, lust, disapproval, anger, disease, death, fear, and God. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
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A more complex question is the translation from a language without articles into a language with articles. The examples presented in the paper are a passage from Aulularia by Plauto and one from Kapitan'skaja do6ka by Pushkin translated into Italian, English and French.
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! In summary, these two books confirm what we already knew about the author's research, viz.
Two gifts that are not often found together. References De Mauro, Tullio, Storia linguistica dell'Italia unita. 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. For example, we say 'Joe passed away' instead of 'Joe died'. Euphemisms are the shields referred to in the book's title. The term dysphemism, much less frequently used, concerns abusive language selected to insult or offend, rather than using more neutral words.
An example of the weapon function of language would be saying 'he is a prick' instead of saying 'he is rude'. Allan and Burridge, trained in linguistics and teaching at Monash University in Australia, have assembled a broad and detailed analysis of folk culture's inventive use of euphemisms and dysphemisms.
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 A concept called 'x- phemism' may elude some readers. 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. 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. The authors' comparison of leprosy, syphilis and AIDS and how society reacted to and defined these diseases is particularly illuminating.
There are some minor additions that would enhance the discussion in the central section. The topic of disgust is very intriguing and a survey assessing people's reactions and interpretations of items of disgust e. 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.
The concept of psychopathology, as being medical in origin, such that 'doctors' treat 'patients' in 'hospitals', is just that, a metaphor for describing the nature and scope of psychological disorders. While the notion that disturbed people had diseases was important in releasing 'inmates' from jails and placing them in better surroundings years ago, the disease metaphor is only one of several available in modern psycholo- gical literature. 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. One may find their final product to be similar to Montagu's The anatomy of swearing or Sagarin's The anatomy of dirty words , although the authors did not mention the latter.
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.
It will prove most satisfying to readers with a background in linguistics, like the authors'. 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. Taboo, censoring and the human brain.
Euphemism and Dysphemism: Language Used as Shield and Weapon
Keith Allan , Kate Burridge. 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. 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.
Euphemism & Dysphemism: Language Used As Shield And Weapon