Zvereva M.

The territory of a terminology crossroads: The concept of “euphemism”

Abstract: 

This article has been inspired by the existing confusion of linguistic terms in scientific literature and dictionaries, related to the concept “euphemism”. The purpose of the article is to distinguish and correlate such linguistic concepts as euphemism, euphemisation, euphemia, antiphrasis, meiosis, litotes, hyperbole, periphrasis and Aesopian language. The analysis of each concept is based on the definitions given in seven dictionaries: the Dictionary of Linguistic Terms by O. S. Akhmanova, the Dictionary of Linguistic Terms by T. V. Zherebilo, the Poetic Dictionary of A. P. Kvyatkovsky, the Concise Literary Encyclopedia, the Linguistic Encyclopedic Dictionary edited by V. N. Yartseva, the Literary Encyclopaedic Dictionary edited by V. M. Kozhevnikov, P. A. Nikolaev and the Reference Dictionary of Linguistic Terms by D. E. Rozental, M. A. Telenkova. The comparison of these concepts was realized according to three parameters: a general characteristic, semantic structure (features of correlation between the basic and contextual meanings) and function. It enables us to indicate borderlines between concepts and to explain their non-identity. Moreover, it allows us to exclude the hyperbola from the list of possible means for creating euphemisms and to determine conditions, under which antiphrasis, meiosis and litotes can become the means of forming euphemisms. The method for analyzing and comparing linguistic concepts, developed and presented in this article, can be also applied to other concepts.

Key words: 

euphemism, euphemisation, euphemia, antiphrasis, meiosis, litotes, hyperbole, periphrasis, Aesopian language.

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