Euphemism as a discursive strategy in US local and state politics
Euphemism is a discursive strategy that politicians use to approach unsettling, embarrassing, or distasteful, i.e. taboo, topics without appearing inconsiderate to people’s concerns. Following a critical discourse-analytic approach to political language, this paper discusses the communicative functions that euphemism performs in the discourse of local and state politicians from New Jersey (USA) in a sample of language data excerpted from The Star-Ledger, the state’s largest newspaper. The analysis reveals that (metaphorical and non-metaphorical) euphemism constitutes a major strategy of self-protection and positive self-presentation for legislators which allows them – mostly by understatement, periphrasis, and metaphor – first, to refer to socially disadvantaged groups or address delicate subjects without sounding insensitive; second, to criticize their political opponents in a socially acceptable way; and third, to purposely conceal from the public unsettling or controversial topics.
Keywords: euphemism, political discourse, face, PC language, conceptual metaphor
Published online: 14 December 2018
Allan, Keith, and Kate Burridge
Brown, Penelope, and Stephen C. Levinson
Chilton, Paul, and Christina Schäffner
Cox, Jeremy L.
Krzyżanowski, Michal, and Bernard Forchtner
Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson
Okulska, Urszula, and Piotr Cap
Reisigl, Martin, and Ruth Wodak
Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, Francisco J.
Van Dijk, Teun A.
Wodak, Ruth, and Michael Meyer
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Escoriza Morera, Luis
Fernández Smith, Gérard
Sánchez Ruiz, Raquel
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