1) to avoid the unpleasant connection, the stress was moved to the second syllable. Such phenomenon is called Assonance. That is to make use of or to create words, which have the same or similar pronunciations with euphemistic words in order to achieve the purpose of euphemism. Therefore, in English there is a way of personification to express “catamenia”: The captain is at home. It is because “captain” is assonant with the medical science term “catamenia”. In oral English, “pee” is used to refer to “piss”, which has the same reason. 2.4. GrammarThat is to use past tense, negative sentence to express euphemism. For example, I can see by your face that you don’t think that was wise. The negative form means “thinking that was foolish”; “How do we feel today?” Using “we” instead of “you” shows the moderation and geniality. “I wanted to…” “I wondered…” often take the place of “I want to…” “I wonder…” Such expression is often used in oral English. 3 The Social Influences of EuphemismEuphemism is widely used in America and Britain. It has a long history. New euphemisms emerge in an endless stream. According to its applied functions, I’d like to divide it into three parts: Avoidance, Courtesy and Disguise. Through studying the three functions, we can understand the western society’s view on value and morality.3.1. AvoidanceThe earliest subject of Euphemism is religious. The conception of taboo is deep-rooted in people’s mind, and it is not easy to remove. The appearance of taboo could date back to ancient Greek and ancient Roman. In human’s eyes God owns a super power that could control everything. Because fearing of the secret power, People use euphemism to avoid mentioning the guilty, unpleasant, rude or offensive words, which plays a role of purifying languages. For example, European Americans avoid speaking “Friday” and “13”. When the two things appear in the same day, it is an ill omen. And there is an example: there appeared an episode in 1972 when President Nicoson visited China. Chinese Premier Zhou went to Shanghai to receive American visitors. He found that Mr. and Mrs. Nicoson were arranged to live in Room15, Kissinger in Room14, but some state councilors in Room13? The Western people often take Number 13 as a taboo. After entering their apartments, Premier Zhou was aware that these Western visitors seemed unhappy. So he explained:” it is a pity that we have made a serious mistake. We ignored the special Western culture.” He continued,” There was an old Chinese fable that when a man was afraid of ghost, the more he thought, the more he felt terrified. At the time he felt no fear, he began to look for the ghost, but the ghost disappeared…Number 13 in Western culture looked like the Chinese ghost.” Hearing his story, the American visitors laughed heartily. At last they cooled down. From this example, we can realize the necessity of the cultural infiltration in language communication. So we must pay attention to the social influence of euphemism. This avoidance function is the first communication function of euphemisms. Such function is often used in the following situations: 3.1.1. The euphemisms for God and devil The Ten Commandments of Bible has prescribed, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” That’s why there are so many euphemisms. In oral English, using “God” causally would be considered blasphmous. If someone say “God damni it” he is treason and heresy, and would be punished
ConclusionEuphemism appears with false appearance, and exerts a subtle influence on exposing the truth. That is to use the neutral or pleasant words to express some awkward or offensive contents. As to the English learners, we should not only pay attention to its application on appropriate occasions, but to its influences. Its active functions can coordinate the interpersonal relationships, release the contradictions and avoid the conflicts. The negative functions are to confound right and wrong, beautify the shameful behaviors and conceal the essence. Language itself has not the class character, but different people, political parties and countries can consider it a tool to serve for them. That is why someone named euphemisms as “comfortable words” or “cosmetic words”. In daily life, we should pay attention to the influences that the active and negative functions of euphemisms bring us, and keep the negative functions from corrupting our thoughts.
My deepest gratitude goes first and foremost to Professor aaa , my supervisor, for her constant encouragement and guidance. She has walked me through all the stages of the writing of this thesis. Without her consistent and illuminating instruction, this thesis could not have reached its present form. Second, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Professor aaa, who led me into the world of translation. I am also greatly indebted to the professors and teachers at the Department of English: Professor dddd, Professor ssss, who have instructed and helped me a lot in the past two years. Last my thanks would go to my beloved family for their loving considerations and great confidence in me all through these years. I also owe my sincere gratitude to my friends and my fellow classmates who gave me their help and time in listening to me and helping me work out my problems during the difficult course of the thesis。