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Doublespeak is language deliberately constructed to disguise its actual meaning, such as euphemisms

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Such language is often associated with governmental military religious and corporate institutions and its deliberate use by these is what distinguishes it from other euphemisms. Doublespeak may be in the form of bald euphemisms downsizing for firing of many employees enhanced interrogation techniques for torture or deliberately...

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2015-09-14

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                                                 INTRODUCTION

Doublespeak is language deliberately constructed to disguise its actual meaning, such as euphemisms.

The word doublespeak was coined in the early 1950s. It is often incorrectly attributed to George Orwell and his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The word actually never appears in that novel; Orwell did, however, coin Newspeak, Oldspeak, duckspeak (speaking from the throat without thinking 'like a duck') and doublethink (holding "...simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them..."), and his novel made fashionable composite nouns with speak as the second element, which were previously unknown in English. It was therefore just a matter of time before someone came up with doublespeak. Doublespeak may be considered, in Orwell's lexicography, as the B vocabulary of Newspeak, words "deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them."

Whereas in the early days of the practice it was considered wrong to construct words to disguise meaning, this is now an accepted and established practice. There is a thriving industry in constructing words without explicit meaning but with particular connotations for new products or companies.   

1. Doublespeak as a phenomenon. Its  history.

Doublespeak is language deliberately constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning, often resulting in a communication bypass. Such language is often associated with governmental, military, religious, and corporate institutions and its deliberate use by these is what distinguishes it from other euphemisms. Doublespeak may be in the form of bald euphemisms ("downsizing" for "firing of many employees", "enhanced interrogation techniques" for torture) or deliberately ambiguous phrases ("wet work" for "assassination", "take out" for "destroy").

The word doublespeak was coined in the early 1950s. It is often incorrectly attributed to George Orwell and his 1948 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The word actually never appears in that novel; Orwell did, however, coin newspeak, oldspeak, and doublethink, and his novel made fashionable composite nouns with speak as the second element, which were previously unknown in English. Doublespeak may be considered, in Orwell's lexicography, as the B vocabulary of Newspeak, words "deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them." (See Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.)

2. Examples of doublespeak in current usage.

Doublespeak is most reminiscent of Orwell's "newspeak" when it is used by a government agency to cover up something unpleasant. The government may find the need to talk about something that has negative connotations to large portions of the public, and avoids backlash by replacing the term with a new one that most people will not recognize as the same thing. Thus "area denial munitions" means "landmines", "physical persuasion" and "tough questioning" mean "torture", and "operational exhaustion" means "shell shock". Others include the changing of the UK War Office to the Ministry of Defence and of the United States Department of War to the Department of Defence.

Doublespeak was very common in the Third Reich. Goebbels' Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Ministry of the Reich for Public Education and Propaganda) coined thousands of new German words. Other examples include "concentration camp" (labor/death camp, or "joycamp" in Newspeak), "protective custody" (imprisonment without due process of law), "Heim ins Reich" (occupation of Austria), particular new meanings for "Volk" (people) and "Rasse" (race), and verschärfte vernehmung which referred to interrogation techniques others described as torture.

A prominent example of doublespeak in the corporate world is the number of different phrases that all describe massive employment termination such as "right-sizing." Corporate doublespeak can also involve downplaying problems, such as calling a fix for a software bug a "reliability enhancement."

Police and court officers use jargon and terms of art that can be seen as doublespeak when they are used to cover up brutality or corruption. "Fines on the spot," for example, are bribes taken during traffic stops (though the Blair administration of the British government used the same term genuinely to describe fines for anti-social behaviour). What police call "aggressive enforcement" may be called "racial profiling" by others. To "pacify" someone, euphemistically, is to subdue him by force.

When illegal activity is routine, it often acquires its own specific jargon. For example, the term "black-bag operations" was used by the FBI to describe illegal break-ins in the 1970s. Mostly, such terms are an informal code, similar to thieves' cant, intended to be used and understood only by fellow-conspirators.

Recently Rutgers University English professor William Lutz has written extensively on the subject. There is also a short (approx 26 min.) video from FFH (Films for the Humanities and Sciences, INC) which features professor Lutz and extensively details some examples of doublespeak.

The National Council of Teachers of English bestows an annual "award" for outstanding instances of doublespeak. According to their website, the "NCTE Doublespeak Award, established in 1974 and given by the NCTE Committee on Public Doublespeak, is an ironic tribute to public speakers who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-centered."

A code word is a word or a phrase designed to convey a predetermined meaning to certain partisan or privileged listeners that yet sounds inoffensive to an average listener not aware of the coded meaning. The use of this particular rhetorical device in a knowing attempt to deceive large groups of people is then disingenuous.

2.1. Professional.

Professionals may use code words to send messages to one another in the presence of a client or customer. For example, a customer support professional may say "the problem was with the PEBKAC", (meaning "Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair", in other words the end user) or "it was an ID 10 t error" ("ID10t" meaning "idiot" in leet).

2.2. Medical.

Main article: Hospital emergency code.

There is a wide range of hospital emergency codes, usually based on colors not strictly standardized but including common terms such as "code blue" to summon the cardiac arrest team. Terms like "code red" and "code blue" are also commonly used in hospital settings to alert staff to fires or electrical problems, without scaring other patients.[citation needed] Alternatively, a doctor or nurse may page "Dr. Brown" or a similar fictitious person as a covert request for immediate security when dealing with a potentially combative patient.

Similarly a doctor may refer to a suspected case of tuberculosis as "Koch's Disease" in order to avoid alarming patients.

Some medical nicknames are derogatory, such as GOMER for "Get Out of My Emergency Room".

2.3. Commercial.

Wal-Mart uses a system of code words to communicate with employees without alarming customers; for example, "Code Brown" signifies gunfire on the premises.

Movie theater employees may say "Mr. Johnson is in theater number three" to indicate that there is a fire or smoke in that theater. The need for such a code word is obvious since even the idea that there may be a fire in a crowded theater must be kept from the theatergoers. Nightclubs and bars often use the name Mr. Sands.

2.4. Law enforcement. Military  and intelligence.

Police also use the 10-code system.

Emergency rescue workers or police officers may say "There is a 'K'" for dead body.

Military and intelligence organizations commonly use code words or nicknames to conceal the meaning of plans, operations, or techniques. For example, Operation Overlord was the well-known Allied code name for the invasion of northwest Europe in World War II. The more tightly guarded Operation Neptune was the code word for the actual beach invasion in the Battle of Normandy.

Highly classified operations, requiring access beyond that authorized by a basic security clearance, generically may be called "codeword", implying they are a Special Access Program (SAP) or classified information in the United States Sensitive Compartmented [intelligence] Information (SCI) [2].

2.5. Informal code word.

An informal code word is a term used, without formal agreement and in many cases without any prior agreement, with the intention of communicating more to one or more listeners or readers, who are predisposed to see its double meaning, than to another or others.

Expectant parents, for instance, may refer, within hearing of their first child, to "our friend", meaning either the fetus or the anticipated child. At the first use, those words may be understood that way by the listening parent, without assistance; on the other hand, they also might instead be explained, pre-emptively or in response to perceived incomprehension, by a wink that means "That's a code word", or by a nod toward the pregnant mother's abdomen.

Informal code words can find use in propaganda, distinct from use of euphemistic code words to delay or avoid emotional responses in the audience. They may be intended to be construed as generalized platitudes by the majority of listeners, but as quite specific promises by those for whom the specific wording was crafted. For instance, a reference in late-20th century America to "places like Pearl Harbor and Bataan" (while omitting mention of Normandy) would seem to many a vague expression of respect for World War II veterans, but would often mean "I won't trust Japan or the Japanese" to veterans of the Pacific Theater, and their relatives old enough to have followed the news and propaganda of the war.

3. Euphemism.

The substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression to replace one that might offend or suggest something unpleasant, for example, "he is at rest" is a euphemism for "he is dead."

IN BRIEF: A word or phrase that is used in place of another that is thought to be too strong or unpleasant.

"Hit the hay," is a euphemism for "Go to bed."

Euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener; or in the case of doublespeak, to make it less troublesome for the speaker. [1]

3.1. Usage.

When a phrase is used as a euphemism, it often becomes a metaphor whose literal meaning is dropped. Euphemisms may be used to hide unpleasant or disturbing ideas, even when the literal term for them is not necessarily offensive. This type of euphemism is used in public relations and politics, where it is sometimes called doublespeak. Sometimes, using euphemisms is equated to politeness. There are also superstitious euphemisms, based (consciously or subconsciously) on the idea that words have the power to bring bad fortune (for example, not speaking the word "cancer"; see Etymology and Common examples below) and religious euphemisms, based on the idea that some words are sacred, or that some words are spiritually imperiling (taboo; see Etymology and Religious euphemisms below).

3.2. Etymology.

The word euphemism comes from the Greek word euphemo, meaning "auspicious/good/fortunate speech/kind" which in turn is derived from the Greek root-words eu (ευ), "good/well" + pheme (φήμη) "speech/speaking". The eupheme was originally a word or phrase used in place of a religious word or phrase that should not be spoken aloud; etymologically, the eupheme is the opposite of the blaspheme (evil-speaking). The primary example of taboo words requiring the use of a euphemism are the unspeakable names for a deity, such as Persephone, Hecate, Nemesis or Yahweh.

Historical linguistics has revealed traces of taboo deformations in many languages. Several are known to have occurred in Indo-European languages, including the original Proto-Indo-European words for bear (*rtkos), wolf (*wlkwos), and deer (originally, hart). In different Indo-European languages, each of these words has a difficult etymology because of taboo deformations — a euphemism was substituted for the original, which no longer occurs in the language. An example is the Slavic root for bear—*medu-ed-, which means "honey eater". One example in English is "donkey" replacing the old Indo-European-derived word "ass".

In some languages of the Pacific, using the name of a deceased chief is taboo. Amongst Australian Aboriginal people, it was forbidden ever to use the name or image of the deceased, so that today the Australian Broadcasting Commission publishes an apology to indigenous people for using names or images of people who have recently died. Since people are often named after everyday things, this leads to the swift development of euphemisms. These languages have a very high rate of vocabulary change

In a similar manner, classical Chinese texts were expected to avoid using characters contained within the name of the currently ruling emperor as a sign of respect. In these instances, the relevant ideographs were replaced by homophones. While this practice creates an additional wrinkle for anyone attempting to read or translate texts from the classical period, it does provide a fairly accurate means of dating the documents under consideration.

3.3. The “Euphemism Treadmill”.

Euphemisms often evolve over time into taboo words themselves, through a process described by W.V.O. Quine, and more recently dubbed "the euphemism treadmill" by Steven Pinker. (cf. Gresham's Law in economics). This is the well-known linguistic process known as pejoration.

Words originally intended as euphemisms may lose their euphemistic value, acquiring the negative connotations of their referents. In some cases, they may be used mockingly and become dysphemisms.

For example, the term “concentration camp,” to describe camps used to house civilian prisoners, was used by the British during the Second Boer War, primarily because it sounded bland and inoffensive. However, after the Third Reich used the expression to describe its death camps, the term gained enormous negative connotation. Since then, new terms have been invented as euphemisms for them, such as internment camps, resettlement camps, etc., and in the Chechen war, filtration camps "to filter out terrorists".

Also, in some versions of English, toilet room, itself a euphemism, was replaced with bathroom and water closet, which were replaced (respectively) with restroom and W.C. These are also examples of euphemisms which are geographically concentrated: the term "restroom" is rarely used outside of the U.S.A. and "W.C.", where before it was quite popular in Britain is passing out of favour and becoming more popular in France.

Connotations easily change over time. Idiot, imbecile, and moron were once neutral terms for a person of toddler, preschool, and primary school mental ages, respectively.[citation needed] As with Gresham's law, negative connotations tend to crowd out neutral ones, so the word mentally retarded was pressed into service to replace them.[2] Now that too is considered rude, used commonly as an insult of a person, thing, or idea. As a result, new terms like developmentally disabled, mentally challenged and special have replaced retarded. A similar progression occurred with

lame → crippled → handicapped → disabled → differently abled

although in that case the meaning has also broadened (and hence has been narrowed with adjectives, which themselves have been euphemised); a dyslexic or colorblind person would not be termed crippled. In the early 1960s, Bill Veeck, who was missing part of a leg, argued against the then-favored euphemism "handicapped", saying he preferred "crippled" because it was merely descriptive and did not carry connotations of limiting one's capability the way "handicapped" (and all of its subsequent euphemisms) seemed to do.

George Carlin gave a famous monologue of how he thought euphemisms can undermine appropriate attitudes towards serious issues such as the evolving terms describing the medical problem of the cumulative mental trauma of soldiers in high stress situations:[3]

Shell shock (World War I) → battle fatigue (World War II)→ Operational exhaustion (Korean War) → Post-traumatic stress disorder (Vietnam War)

He contended that, as the name of the condition became more complicated and seemingly arcane, sufferers of this condition have been taken less seriously as people with a serious illness, and were given poorer treatment as a result. He also contended that Vietnam veterans would have received the proper care and attention they needed were the condition still called Shell Shock. In the same routine, he echoed Bill Veeck's opinion that "crippled" was a perfectly valid term (and noted that early English translations of the Bible seemed to have no qualms about saying that Jesus "healed the cripples").

A complementary "dysphemism treadmill" exists, but is more rarely observed. One modern example is the word "sucks". "That sucks" began as American slang for "that is very unpleasant", and is shorthand for "that sucks cock", referring to fellatio[citation needed]; along with the exactly synonymous phrase "that blows", it developed over the late-20th century from being an extremely vulgar phrase to near-acceptability. Likewise, scumbag, which was originally a reference to a used condom, now is a fairly mild epithet.[4]

3.4. Classification of euphemisms.

Many euphemisms fall into one or more of these categories:

Terms of foreign and/or technical origin (derrière, copulation, perspire, urinate, security breach, mierda de toro, prophylactic, feces occur)

Abbreviations (SOB for son of a bitch, BS for bullshit, TS for tough shit, SOL for shit out of luck or shit-on-liver[5], BFD for big fucking deal, SSDD for same shit, different day)

Abbreviations using a “phonetic” alphabet (Charlie Foxtrot for "Cluster fuck", Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Oscar for "What the fuck, over?", Bravo Sierra for "bullshit"—See Military slang)

Plays on abbreviations (H-e-double hockey sticks for "hell", barbecue sauce for "bull shit", sugar honey iced tea for "shit", Maryland farmer for "motherfucker", catch (or see) you next Tuesday (or Thursday) for "cunt")

Use in mostly clinical settings (PITA for "pain in the ass" patient)

Abstractions (it, the situation, go, left the company, do it)

Indirections (behind, unmentionables, privates, live together, go to the bathroom, sleep together)

Mispronunciation (goldarnit, dadgummit, freakin, shoot—See minced oath)

Litotes (not exactly thin for "fat", not completely truthful for "lied", not unlike cheating for "cheating")

Changing nouns to modifiers (makes her look slutty for "is a slut", right-wing element for "right-wing", of Jewish persuasion for "Jew")

There is some disagreement over whether certain terms are or are not euphemisms. For example, sometimes the phrase visually impaired is labeled as a politically correct euphemism for blind. However, visual impairment can be a broader term, including, for example, people who have partial sight in one eye, a group that would be excluded by the word blind.

There are three antonyms of euphemism: dysphemism, cacophemism, and power word. The first can be either offensive or merely humorously deprecating with the second one generally used more often in the sense of something deliberately offensive. The last is used mainly in arguments to make a point seem more correct.

3.5. The evolution of euphemisms.

Euphemisms may be formed in a number of ways. Periphrasis or circumlocution is one of the most common—to “speak around” a given word, implying it without saying it. Over time, circumlocutions become recognized as established euphemisms for particular words or ideas.

To alter the pronunciation or spelling of a taboo word (such as a swear word) to form a euphemism is known as taboo deformation. There are an astonishing number of taboo deformations in English, of which many refer to the infamous four-letter words. In American English, words which are unacceptable on television, such as fuck, may be represented by deformations such as freak — even in children's cartoons. Some examples of Cockney rhyming slang may serve the same purpose—to call a person a berk sounds less offensive than to call him a cunt, though berk is short for Berkeley Hunt which rhymes with cunt.

Bureaucracies such as the military and large corporations frequently spawn euphemisms of a more deliberate (and to some, more sinister) nature. Organizations coin doublespeak expressions to describe objectionable actions in terms that seem neutral or inoffensive. For example, a term used in the past for contamination by radioactive isotopes is Sunshine Units.

Military organizations kill people, sometimes deliberately and sometimes by mistake; in doublespeak, the first may be called neutralizing the target and the second collateral damage. Violent destruction of non-state enemies may be referred to as pacification. Two common terms when a soldier is accidentally killed (buys the farm) by their own side are friendly fire or blue on blue (BOBbing) - “buy the farm” has its own interesting history. [7]

Execution is an established euphemism referring to the act of putting a person to death, with or without judicial process. It originally referred to the execution, i.e. the carrying out, of a death warrant, which is an authorization to a sheriff, prison warden, or other official to put a named person to death. In legal usage, execution can still refer to the carrying out of other types of orders; for example, in U.S. legal usage, a writ of execution is a direction to enforce a civil money judgment by seizing property. Likewise, lethal injection itself may be considered a euphemism for putting the convict to death by poisoning.

Industrial unpleasantness such as pollution may be toned down to outgassing or runoff — descriptions of physical processes rather than their damaging consequences. Some of this may simply be the application of precise technical terminology in the place of popular usage, but beyond precision, the advantage of technical terminology may be its lack of emotional undertones and the likelihood the general public (at least initially) will not recognize it for what it really is; the disadvantage being the lack of real-life context.

"Runoff" can, in addition to industrial activities, also pertain to agriculture, specifically pesticides (in particular herbicides and insecticides, with obvious negatives) and fertilizers. Typically the movement of these chemicals is tied to heavy rainfall. While fertilizers might seem harmless, and an adjacent farm receiving them might even benefit, upon arriving at nearby streams and lakes, they cause numerous undesirable effects for aquatic plant and animal life.

3.6. Religious euphemisms.

Euphemisms for God and Jesus are used by Christians to avoid taking the name of God in a vain oath, which would violate one of the Ten Commandments.

When praying, Jews will typically use the word "Adonai" ('my master'). However, when in a colloquial setting, this is deemed inappropriate, and so typically one replaces the word "Adonai" with the word "HaShem," which literally means, "The Name." It is notable that "Adonai" is itself a word that refers to the Jewish God's name, the pronunciation of which is unknown and often mistakenly thought to be Jehovah, but is not the name itself. Traditionally, Jews have seen the name of God as ineffable and thus one that must not be spoken. According to the Torah, the when Moses saw the burning bush, he asked God, "who are you?" The answer he heard was, "I am that I am." Thus, the Jews have for centuries recognized the name of the Almighty as ineffable, because pronouncing it is equivalent to calling oneself God.[citation needed]

Euphemisms for hell, damnation, and the devil, on the other hand, are often used to avoid invoking the power of the adversary. For example, in the Harry Potter books, the evil wizard Lord Voldemort is usually referred to as "he who must not be named". Similarly, in the BBC's Rumpole of the Bailey TV series, Rumpole refers to his wife as "She who must be obeyed."

Euphemisms for "religion" include faith and spirituality.

3.7. Sexual euphemisms.

The Latin term pudendum and the Greek term αιδοίον (aidoion) for the genitals literally mean "shameful thing". Groin, crotch, and loins refer to a larger region of the body, but are euphemistic when used to refer to the genitals. Euphemisms are more common in reference to sexual practices or orientations, particularly non-heterosexual ones.[citation needed] For example in the movie "Closer" the character played by Jude Law uses the euphemism "He valued his privacy" for gay and "He enjoyed his privacy" for raging queen, which by itself would also be an euphemism and a joke.

In pornographic stories, the words rosebud and starfish are often used as euphemisms for anus, generally in the context of anal sex

On the television show Firefly, sex was referred to as "grappling." Also, the word "sly" was substitute.

3.8. Euphemisms for death.

The English language contains numerous euphemisms related to dying, death, burial, and the people and places which deal with death. The practice of using euphemisms for death is likely to have originated with the magical belief that to speak the word "death" was to invite death; where to "draw Death's attention" is the ultimate bad fortune—a common theory holds that death is a taboo subject in most English-speaking cultures for precisely this reason. It may be said that one is not dying, but fading quickly because the end is near. People who have died are referred to as having passed away or passed or departed. Deceased is a euphemism for "dead," and sometimes the deceased is said to have gone to a better place, but this is used primarily among the religious with a concept of Heaven.

Christians often use phrases such as gone to be with the Lord or called to higher service (this latter expression being particularly prevalent in the Salvation Army) to express their belief that physical death is not the end.

There are many euphemisms for the dead body, some polite and some profane, as well as dysphemisms such as worm food, or dead meat. Modern rhyming slang contains the expression brown bread. The corpse was once referred to as the shroud (or house or tenement) of clay, and modern funerary workers use terms such as the loved one (title of a novel about Hollywood undertakers by Evelyn Waugh) or the dear departed. (They themselves have given up the euphemism funeral director for grief therapist, and hold arrangement conferences with relatives.) Among themselves, mortuary technicians often refer to the corpse as the client. A recently dead person may be referred to as "the late John Doe". The terms cemetery for "graveyard" and undertaking for "burial" are so well-established that most people do not even recognize them as euphemisms. In fact, undertaking has taken on a negative connotation, as undertakers have a devious reputation.

Contemporary euphemisms and dysphemisms for death tend to be quite colorful, and someone who has died is said to have passed away, passed on, checked out, bit the big one, kicked the bucket, bitten the dust, popped their clogs, pegged it, turned their toes up, bought the farm, cashed in their chips, croaked, given up the ghost (originally a more respectful term, cf. the death of Jesus as translated in the King James Version of the Bible Mark 15:37), gone south, shuffled off this mortal coil (from William Shakespeare's Hamlet), or assumed room temperature. When buried, they may be said to be pushing up daisies, sleeping the big sleep, taking a dirt nap, or six feet under. There are hundreds of such expressions in use. (Old Burma-Shave jingle: "If daisies are your favorite flower, keep pushin’ up those miles per hour!") In Edwin Muir's 'The Horses' a euphemism is used to show the elimination of the human race 'The seven days war that put the world to sleep.'

"Euthanasia" also attracts euphemisms. One may put one out of one’s misery, put one to sleep, or have one put down, the latter two phrases being used primarily with dogs and cats who have made their final visit to the veterinarian. These terms are not usually applied to humans, because both medical ethics and civil law deprecate euthanasia.

There are a few euphemisms for killing which are neither respectful nor playful, but rather clinical and detached. Some examples of this type are terminate, wet work, to take care of one or to take them for a ride, to do them in, to off, frag, smoke, lace, whack or waste someone. To cut loose (from U.S. Sgt. Massey's account of activities during the American occupation of Iraq) or open up on someone, means "to shoot at with every available weapon."

To terminate with prejudice generally means to end one's employment without possibility of rehire (as opposed to lay off, where the person can expect rehire if business picks up), but the related term to terminate with extreme prejudice now usually means to kill. The adjective extreme may occasionally be omitted. In the movie Apocalypse Now, Captain Willard is told to terminate Colonel Kurtz’s commission "with extreme prejudice." An acronym, TWEP has been coined from this phrase, which can be used as a verb: "He was TWEPed/TWEPped."

The Dead Parrot Sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus contains an extensive list of euphemisms for death, referring to the deceased parrot that the character played by John Cleese purchases (the sketch has led to another euphemism for death: "pining for the fjords", although in the sketch it was used by the shop owner to mean the parrot was not dead, but was merely quiet and contemplative). A similar passage occurs near the beginning of The Twelve Chairs, where Bezenchuk, the undertaker, astonishes Vorobyaninov with his classification of people by the euphemisms used to speak of their deaths. The game Dungeon Siege contains many euphemisms for death as well.

Also, a scene in the film Patch Adams features Patch (Robin Williams) dressed in an angel costume, reading out various synonyms and euphemisms for the phrase "to die" to a man dying of cancer. This evolves into a contest between the two men to see who can come up with more, and better, euphemisms, ending when Patch comes up with "and if we bury you ass up, we'll have a place to park my bike."

The name of the village of Ban Grong Greng in Thailand is a euphemism for Death Village. It literally means the Village of the Dreaded Gong. It is so named because it is the home to Wat Grong Greng (temple of the dreaded gong) at which the burning of bodies at funerals is proceeded by the beating of a gong.

3.9. Euphemisms in job titles.

Today, euphemisms are becoming increasingly popular in job titles, and now many normal jobs have complicated titles that make the jobs sound more important, or skilled, than the common names would imply. Many of these euphemisms may include words such as engineer, though in fact the people who do the job are not accredited in engineering (and in many jurisdictions it is technically illegal to use the term without a currently valid State certification, though widely unenforced). Extreme cases, such as sanitation engineer for janitor are cited humorously more often than they are used seriously. Less extreme cases, such as custodian for janitor, are considered more terms of respect than euphemisms. These euphemisms can include, but are by no means limited to:

Binman (UK)/garbageman (US) - Waste Removal Officer (UK) or Sanitation Engineer (US)

Cashier - Sales Assistant or Retail Representative

Cleaner (UK)/Maid (US) - Domestic Assistant

Dog catcher - Canine Relocation Specialist

Driver - Chauffeur

Farrier - Equine Chiropodist

Lorry driver (UK) or delivery (wo)man (US) - Logistics Manager

Non-management positions in a variety of fields - Associate or Team Member or Representative

Guard - Loss Prevention Officer

Substitute Teacher - Teacher on Call

Window washer - Vision Clearance Engineer

Host(ess) - Guest Relations Officer

Steward(ess) - Flight attendant

Secretary - Administrative assitant (or professional)

3.10. "Politically correct" euphemisms.

Charges of Newspeak are sometimes advanced when a group tries to replace a word/phrase that is politically unsuitable (e.g. "civilian casualties") or offensive (e.g. "murder") with an alternative, inoffensive euphemism (e.g. "collateral damage"), or falsely innocuous (as in "liquidate the kulaks" or "resettle the Jews", as used by the Soviets or the Nazis, respectively, to conceal their democides).

Some people maintain that to make certain words or phrases "unspeakable" (thoughtcrime) through the attempt to make language politically correct restricts what ideas may be held (Newspeak) and is therefore tantamount to censorship. Others believe that expunging terms that have fallen out of favor or become insulting will make people less likely to hold "outdated" or offensive views.

Either way, there is a resemblance between censorship due to moral dogmatisms and Newspeak, although some may feel that they differ in their intentions: in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Newspeak is instituted to enhance the power of the state over the individual; politically correct language, on the other hand, is said by supporters to free individuals from stereotypical preconceptions caused by the use of prejudicial terminology. It is this attempt to change thought through changing (or eliminating) words that earns political correctness the connection to Newspeak.

For many, there exist striking instances where Orwell's speculations have matched with reality. Orwell suggested that all philosophies prior to Ingsoc (English Socialism) would be covered under the term "oldthink", bearing with it none of the nuances of these ideologies, but simply a connotation of badness. It is argued that since the end of the Second World War and the Cold War, a similar effect has been wrought on the words "fascism" and "communism"; that communism no longer bears with it the doctrines of Marx, Engels, or Lenin, but rather a general bad connotation. Likewise, they contend that few people are aware of the differences between the theories of government of Mussolini, Dollfuß, Franco, and Hitler; all are placed under the blanket term "fascism" or "Nazism" with only a general denotation of badness.[citation needed] An example of this is the rise term "islamofascism"" to describe the ideology of al-Qaeda-type Muslim groups, despite the fact this organization is not, in fact, fascist.

In the Spanish Civil War, both parties called each other by dysphemistical names. Perhaps the best description is it began as a conflict of Republicans and Nationalists, and ended up as a war of Communists and Fascists.[citation needed]

Political groups often use neologisms to frame their views positively and to discredit their opponents' views.[1] One of the most prominent and heated examples is the U.S. abortion debates: Those advocating restrictions on abortion label themselves "pro-life", seeing the term "abortion" or the idea of "aborting a pregnancy" as euphemistic for "murder of an unborn child" and leaving their opponents, who do not view the human organism as being its own person in pre-natal stages of development, and who see the issue as being not about life or death but primarily about women's rights, presumably "anti-life" or "pro-death". Using a similar tactic, those advocating abortions reduce this highly charged and highly complex moral and ethical issue in their own way to a convenient sound byte that redirects emphasis to their own concerns by labeling themselves "pro-choice", leaving their opponents, many of whom are women themselves, and who see women's rights as completely unrelated to what is for them a life and death matter, supposedly "anti-women" and "anti-choice". Members of either side are commonly heard expressing views that the other camp's self-label is dishonest, or at the very least overly simplistic.

In modern business, it is often frowned upon to use words with a negative connotation, such as "problem" and instead problems are referred to as "challenges", "obstacles", or even "opportunities".

Three examples unrelated to political correctness are Basic English, a language which takes pride in reducing the number of English words, World English and E-Prime, another simplified version of English.

4. Abbreviations and Acronyms.

Another common use of Newspeak today is the overuse of abbreviations. To quote from the 1984 Appendix "It was perceived that in thus abbreviating a name one narrowed and subtly altered its meaning, by cutting out most of the associations that would otherwise cling to it." Attention is also drawn to the use of such abbreviations by totalitarian regimes prior to World War II (see Gestapo, Comintern, Agitprop, Minculpop).

Even more powerful are acronyms like "USA PATRIOT act", "Ofcom", "OPEC","NAMbLA", "PETA", "NAFTA", "NICE", and the "PROTECT Act" which can be pronounced as if they were proper words. This is most vividly seen in acronyms like "laser", "scuba", and "radar", which are in widespread use today and are nearly always written in lowercase.

On July 5 1959 President Sukarno of Indonesia abolished parliamentary democracy and established a system of government-by-decree called Manifesto Politik or in short Manipol - an abbreviation greatly reminiscent of those in Orwell's book, though there is no evidence that Sukarno read the book or was directly influenced by it. In a similar way, the Indonesian term "Tapol" (political prisoner) - first used as a derogatory word by the authorities, later adopted as a term of pride by the "tapols" themselves - was created from the first syllables of "prisoner" and "political".[citation needed]

5. Environmental Doublespeak.

In is decade, a new brand of this twisty-turny language emerged: Environmental Doublespeak. Here are a few of the dubious phrases:

"using common sense"

"modernizing regulations" or "updating laws"

"simplifying and streamlining regulations" or "eliminating red tape"

"clarifying regulatory language"

"improving the way we protect the environment"

On the surface, these concepts are hard to argue with. Who wouldn't be in favor of reforming laws that are so outdated that they have become useless? What right-minded environmentalist wouldn't want to improve the way we protect the environment?

The problem is that environmental-doublespeak phrases are usually code language designed to obscure the fact that the speaker really intends to weaken environmental protection. Here are some common statements you hear from the sham environmentalists:

"We're taking another look at the science associated with the problem."

"We plan to invest in more study of the problem."

"We want to make decisions based on sound science."

Again, such statements seem reasonable enough; but in practical terms, one can usually substitute the following phrase with perfect accuracy: "We plan to do whatever we can, including funding more studies on topics that are already well understood scientifically, to delay any strengthening of regulations in this area."

Much of environmental doublespeak is about "framing"—a political technique for using language that implies something positive rather than language that implies something negative. The most famous frame is probably "pro-life" (instead of anti-abortion). Our brains are more receptive to positive phrases, especially those that imply a broader positive meaning when taken outside the debate topic. In the case of "pro-life," if you take the phrase beyond the abortion debate, well, who isn't "pro-life"?


 

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