Euphemisms and political discourse in the British regional press

Source document: Brno studies in English. 2014, vol. 40, iss. 1, pp. [5]-26
Extent
[5]-26
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type
Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
Politicians resort to euphemism as a "safe" way to deal with unpleasant subjects and criticize their opponents without giving a negative impression to their audiences. In this regard, it is my purpose to gain an insight into the way euphemism is used by politicians from Norfolk and Suffolk both at word and sentence level using a sample of the regional newspaper Eastern Daily Press, published in Norwich (UK). To this end, I will rely on the frameworks of critical-political discourse analysis (Van Dijk 1993, 1997; Wilson 2001), pragmatic theory, particularly politeness and facework (Brown and Levinson 1987), and Cognitive Metaphor Theory (Lakoff 1993). The results obtained reveal that euphemism plays an important role in the "self-promotion" of regional politicians, who employ euphemism – mostly by understatement, litotes and underspecification – for a variety of purposes, namely sensitivity to audience concerns, avoidance of expressions that can be perceived to marginalize socially disadvantaged groups, polite criticism and mitigation – even concealment – of unsettling topics.
Document
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