The Analysis of the Euphemism: From the Semiotic Point of View

Shumin LI

Abstract


The present study analyzes the linguistic sign’s nature of euphemism based on the Saussure’s semiotic view of language. According to the arbitrary nature of the linguistic sign, no matter what linguistic signifier we use, we still associate this with the things it refers to. Although the euphemistic signifier and its taboo counterpart refer to the same signified, their function during the process of communication is quite different. Through the use of the euphemism, people can indirectly express something unpleasant or socially unacceptable and avoid making the interlocutors embarrassed or awkward. Furthermore, based on this nature of arbitrariness, it is possible that people can continuously create new euphemisms and substitute the old which lost its euphemistic expression.


Keywords


Semiotic; Sign; Signified and signifier

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References


Le, M. Y. (1994). Saussure’s linguistic view on semiotic. Foreign Language, (6), 15-18.

Rawson, H. (1981). A dictionary of Euphemism and other doubletalk. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.

Saussure, F. D. (2001). Course in general linguistics. Peking: Foreign Language Teaching and Researching Press.

Shu, D. F. (1989). New study on euphemism. Foreign Language, (3), 28-34.

Wang, C. R., & Yang, C. X. (1987). On euphemism. Modern Foreign Language, (3), 52-56.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11194

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