Euphemisms and political discourse in the British regional press

Title: Euphemisms and political discourse in the British regional press
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2014, vol. 40, iss. 1, pp. [5]-26
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

Politicians resort to euphemism as a "safe" way to deal with unpleasant subjects and criticize their opponents without giving a negative impression to their audiences. In this regard, it is my purpose to gain an insight into the way euphemism is used by politicians from Norfolk and Suffolk both at word and sentence level using a sample of the regional newspaper Eastern Daily Press, published in Norwich (UK). To this end, I will rely on the frameworks of critical-political discourse analysis (Van Dijk 1993, 1997; Wilson 2001), pragmatic theory, particularly politeness and facework (Brown and Levinson 1987), and Cognitive Metaphor Theory (Lakoff 1993). The results obtained reveal that euphemism plays an important role in the "self-promotion" of regional politicians, who employ euphemism – mostly by understatement, litotes and underspecification – for a variety of purposes, namely sensitivity to audience concerns, avoidance of expressions that can be perceived to marginalize socially disadvantaged groups, polite criticism and mitigation – even concealment – of unsettling topics.
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