Essay on Euphemism in Cross-Cultural Communication

3613 Words Apr 26th, 2013 15 Pages
Cross-Cultural Communication

Vol. 8, No. 6, 2012, pp. 66-70 DOI:10.3968/j.ccc.1923670020120806.1356

ISSN 1712-8358[Print] ISSN 1923-6700[Online] www.cscanada.net www.cscanada.org

Cross-Cultural Contrastive Study of English and Chinese Euphemisms

WANG Xiaoling[a]; ZHANG Meng[a],*; DONG Hailin[a]
[a]

College of Foreign Languages, Hebei United University, West Xinhua Road, Tangshan, China. * Corresponding author. Supported by Study on Application of Cross-Cultural Teaching Concept in New Standard College English Teaching; Key Project of Ministry of Education for the Year 2010, the Eleventh Five-year Plan for Educational Sciences (Grant No. gpa105030). Received 18 August 2012; accepted 7 December 2012

Abstract

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So the similarities and differences of cultures are undoubtedly reflected by English and Chinese languages, including euphemisms. 2.1 Cultural Similarities Reflected by Euphemisms Euphemism as a cultural phenomenon has its specific role to play in culture. Cultural similarities reflected by English and Chinese euphemisms can be concluded by the functions of euphemisms. Basically speaking, the functions of English and Chinese euphemisms are the same, which can be divided as taboo-avoiding function, politeness function, and deception function. These functions show the universal characters of human culture. 2.1.1 Taboo-Avoiding Function In English and Chinese, there are some words that cannot be directly said out. For example, during the time when Christianity was prevalent in the western countries, the name of God “Jehovah” became the biggest taboo, so many euphemisms were created to replace the name, such as “the Almighty”, “the Supreme Being”, “Holy one”, “the Eternal”, “the Creator”, “the Maker”, “the Savior”, “the light of the world”, “the Sovereign of the Universe”, “Our Father”, etc.. In ancient China, the names of emperors are also tabooed. For example, Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, changed “正月” (the first month of a lunar year) into “端月” so as to avoid the pronunciation of the character “正” which is the same as the character “政” used in his name. Another example is the euphemistic expression of

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