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语言文化论文-刍议英语委婉语的起源及其社会交际功能.doc

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语言文化论文-刍议英语委婉语的起源及其社会交际功能.doc

语言文化论文刍议英语委婉语的起源及其社会交际功能ABSTRACTEUPHEMISM,ASACOMMONLINGUISTICPHENOMENONINWORLDCULTURE,ISWIDELYUSEDINEVERYSOCIALCLASSANDFIELDENGLISHEUPHEMISM,ASONEOFMANYEUPHEMISMSEXISTINGINTHEWORLD,HASITSOWNDEEPORIGIN,WHICHINCLUDEBOTHTHERELIGIOUSORIGINANDTHEHISTORICAL,LITERARYORIGINTHISTHESISWILLTRYTODISCUSSTHEORIGINOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMFROMEVERYASPECTOFRELIGION,RACE,POLITICS,LITERARY,ANDHISTORYLANGUAGEREFLECTSLIFE,ANDISALWAYSCLOSELYRELATEDTOTHESOCIETYDURINGTHECOMMUNICATION,DUETOSOMECERTAINRESTRICTIONOFBEHAVIORANDMORALITY,PEOPLETENDTOUSEEUPHEMISMUSEDASAKINDOFLUBRICATION,MAKINGTHEHARSH,INDELICATEWORDSSOUNDTACTFULANDPLEASANTENGLISHEUPHEMISMPLAYSAVERYIMPORTANTROLEINPEOPLE’SSOCIALCOMMUNICATIONTHISPAPERWILLALSOEXPOUNDTHESOCIALCOMMUNICATIVEFUNCTIONOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMFROMTHETHREEASPECTSEVASIVEFUNCTION,POLITEFUNCTION,ANDCOSMETICFUNCTIONHAVINGAGOODUNDERSTANDINGOFTHEORIGINANDSOCIALFUNCTIONOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMANDTHEENGLISHLANGUAGECULTURECANAVOIDMANYCONFLICTSINTHEPROCESSOFSOCIALCOMMUNICATIONKEYWORDSORIGIN;COMMUNICATIVEFUNCTION;EVASION;COSMETICFUNCTION;POLITENESS【摘要】委婉语是世界文化中普遍存在的语言现象,它广泛应用于社会各阶层和领域。英语委婉语作为众多委婉语中的一种,具有其产生的深厚渊源,其中包宗教与政治的,也包括文学与历史的。本文试图从宗教、种族、政治、文学、历史等方面入手来探讨英语委婉语的产生渊源。语言反映生活,并且总是和社会紧密联系在一起,在语言交谈中,由于一定的行为规范和道德准则的制约,人们通常使用委婉语这一“润滑剂”,使刺耳,不文雅的话变得委婉愉悦。它在人们的社会交际过程中发挥着重要作用。本文从其避讳功能、礼貌功能以及掩饰功能三方面阐释了英语委婉语的社会交际功能。通过充分理解英语委婉语的起源及其社会交际功能,进一步理解英语语言文化,以避免社会交际中的各种冲突。【关键词】起源;交际功能;避讳;礼貌;掩饰1INTRODUCTIONEUPHEMISMISACULTURALPHENOMENONASWELLASALINGUISTICCONCEPTEVERYLANGUAGEHASITSOWNEUPHEMISM,SODOESENGLISHITISDEEPLYROOTEDINSOCIALLIFEANDHASAGREATINFLUENCEONSOCIALCOMMUNICATIONASANINDISPENSABLEANDNATURALPARTOFENGLISHLANGUAGE,ENGLISHEUPHEMISMHASATTRACTEDPEOPLE’SATTENTIONFORALONGTIMESINCEEUPHEMISMWASCOINED,ITHASPLAYEDAVERYIMPORTANTROLEINPEOPLE’SCOMMUNICATIONTHECOMMUNICATIONWITHOUTEUPHEMISMISUNIMAGINABLEEUPHEMISMISUSEDLIKELUBRICATION,WHICHMAKESTHECOMMUNICATIONGOONSMOOTHLYTHISTHESISWILLHAVEANOVERVIEWOFTHEORIGINOFENGLISHEUPHEMISM,ANDSTATEITSSOCIALCOMMUNICATIVEFUNCTIONENGLISHEUPHEMISMASALINGUISTICCONCEPT,ITHASCLOSERELATIONSHIPSWITHTHEWESTERNCULTURE,ANDITTRULYREFLECTSTHELIFEANDVALUESOFENGLISHPEOPLEANDTHEIRHISTORYEUPHEMISMISAPARTICULARLYGOODMEDIUMFORACCESSTOTHEFORCEOFLANGUAGETHATHASPROVIDEDANEFFECTIVEAPPROACHTOUNDERSTANDINGTHEHUMANMINDTHESTUDYOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMCANHELPUSUNDERSTANDTHEWESTERNCULTUREANDPROMOTETHEINTERNATIONALDEVELOPMENTBECAUSEEUPHEMISMISWIDELYUSEDININTERNATIONALNEGOTIATIONSSOTHEREISAGREATNEEDFORUSTOSTUDYENGLISHEUPHEMISM,INCLUDINGITSORIGIN,ITSSOCIALFUNCTION,ETC2THEDEFINITIONSOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMEUPHEMISMISAUNIVERSALLINGUISTICPHENOMENONNEARLYINEVERYLANGUAGE,THEREARESOMEDISGUSTINGWORDS,WHICHMAKEPEOPLEFEELEMBARRASSEDINTHEPROCESSOFCOMMUNICATION,THEUNSUITABLEORTOODIRECTWORDSWILLMAKEPEOPLEFEELUNCOMFORTABLE,EVENANGRYTHENTHEREISAGREATNEEDFORUSTOUSEATACTFULWAYTOEXPRESSEMOTION,EXCHANGEIDEASTHATISTOSAY,TOUSEAPLEASANT,MILDORINDIRECTWORDSORPHRASESTAKETHEPLACEOFTABOOEDWORDSITISKNOWNTHATEUPHEMISMISAFORMOFLANGUAGEINTENTIONALLYCREATEDINSOCIALRELATIONTOACHIEVEIDEALCOMMUNICATIONWITHOUTTHEMANYLANGUAGEWOULDSEEMTOBEVULGARANDRUDE,VOIDOFPOLITENESSANDVIVIDNESSTOSOMEEXTENTASACOMMONCOMMUNICATIONINTHEPROCESSOFPEOPLEUSINGLANGUAGE,EUPHEMISMISANIMPORTANTWAYFORPEOPLETOCOORDINATETHESOCIALRELATIONSHIPSLIKEAKINDOFLUBRICATION,EUPHEMISMENABLESPEOPLETOEXPRESSWHATCANNOTBEUTTEREDDIRECTLYANDENSURESCOMMUNICATIONTOBECARRIEDSMOOTHLYITISALANGUAGESTRATEGYINCIVILIZEDSOCIETYFORAVOIDINGTABOOITISUNIMAGINABLEIFTHECOMMUNICATIONISWITHOUTEUPHEMISMTHEWORD“EUPHEMISM”WASDERIVEDFROMTHEGREEKWORD“EUPHEMISMOS”,WHICHMEANS“FAIRSPEECH”THEPREFIX“EU”MEANS“GOOD,SOUNDWELL”AND“PHEME”MEANS“SAYING”OR“SPEECH”ANDTHUSTHELITERALMEANINGOF“EUPHEMISM”IS“TOSPEAKWITHGOODWORDSORINAPLEASANTMANNER”THATISTOSAY,EUPHEMISMISUSEDASANALTERNATIVETOUNPLEASANTEXPRESSION,INORDERTOAVOIDPOSSIBLELOSEOFFACE,EITHERONE’SOWNFACEORTHROUGHGOINGOFFENSE,THATOFTHEAUDIENCE,ORSOMEOFTHIRDOFPARTYTHISUNPLEASANTEXPRESSIONMAYBETABOOED,FEARSOME,ORFORSOMEOTHERREASONSTHATSPEAKERSCAN’TORINTENDNOTTOUSESOMECERTAINEXPRESSIONDIRECTLYONSOMEOCCASION“INWEBSTER’SENCYCLOPEDICUNABRIDGEDDICTIONARYOFTHEENGLISHLANGUAGEIS‘THESUBSTITUTIONOFAMILD,INDIRECT,ORVAGUEEXPRESSIONFORONETHOUGHTSUBSTITUTED’RAWSONBLUNT,ABRITISHWRITER,DEFINEDEUPHEMISMAS‘AGOODFAVORABLEINTERPRETATIONOFABADWORD’”1“ENCYCLOPEDIABRITANNICA1994ALSODEFINESEUPHEMISMAS‘AFIGUREOFSPEECHINWHICHSOMETHINGOFANUNPLEASANT,DISTRESSINGORINDELICATENATUREISDESCRIBEDINLESSOFFENSIVETERMS’”2FROMTHEABOVEMENTIONED,WECOULDCLEARLYSEETHATEUPHEMISMISCHARACTERIZEDBYAVOIDANCELANGUAGEANDEVASIVEEXPRESSIONTHESPEAKERSUSEWORDSOREXPRESSIONSASAPROTECTIVESHIELDAGAINSTTHEANGERORDISAPPROVALOFNATURALORSUPERNATURALTHINGSITISONEFORMOFLANGUAGEANDALINGUISTICPHENOMENON3THEORIGINSOFENGLISHEUPHEMISM31THERELIGIOUSORIGINOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMTHEEARLIESTENGLISHEUPHEMISMSCOMEFROM“TABOO”THEWORD“TABOO”COMESFROMTOGAN,AKINDOFPOLYNESIANITINDICATESEVASIVELANGUAGEORACTION3THEEMERGENCEOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMISTOMEETTHENEEDOFAVOIDINGTABOOSINPRIMITIVESOCIETY,PEOPLECAN’TEXPLAINSUCHTHINGSASAILMENTANDSOMESUPERNATURALPHENOMENA“PEOPLEHAVECONFUSIONBETWEENTHENAMEOFTHETHINGSANDTHINGSTHEMSELVESTHENAMEISVIEWEDASANEXTENSIONOFTHINGSJUSTASTHEIDIOMSAYS‘SPEAKOFDEVILANDHEAPPEARS’NATURALLYTHEWORDSORPHRASESRELATEDTOSUCHTHINGSBECOMETABOOS”4INTHEANCIENTTIMES,PEOPLEHADBLINDFAITHINGHOSTSANDGODSTHEYRESPECTEDTHEYWHISPEREDANDEVENFEAREDTHEMSOTHEYDIDNOTDARETOADDRESSTHEIRNAMESDIRECTLYTHEYTHINKITPROFANETONAMEGODTHEREFORETHENAMESOFGODSBECOMETHEEARLIESTTABOOSTOSPEAKNAMEOFGODSWASTOEVOKETHEDIVINITYWHOSEPOWERTHENHADTOBECONFRONTEDSUCHDANGEROUSPRACTICESWERERESERVEDFORPRIESTSSKILLEDINNEGOTIATINGWITHTHESUPERNATURALSOTHEUSUALWAYTOAVOIDISTOEMPLOYEUPHEMISMSTHEREFORE,FORTHERELIGIOUSNEED,ALOTOFEUPHEMISMSABOUTRELIGIONEMERGEDFOREXAMPLE,INORDERNOTTODESECRATEGOD,PEOPLEINENGLISHSPEAKINGCOUNTRYALWAYSUSESOMEOTHERNAMEFORGODINSTEADOFCALLINGDIRECTLY,SUCHAS“ADONAI,THEALMIGHTY,CAESAR’SCRUTH,THECREATER,DOD,GAD,LAND,LAWKS,LAWD”5THEOPPOSITESIDEOFGODISDEVIL,WHICHISMORETERRIBLEFORPEOPLEWHENPEOPLEREFERTOTHEM,THEYTENDTOUSESUCHEUPHEMISMSTOREPLACED,THEBIGD,THEEVILONE,THEBLACKONE,THEGOODMAN,JESSE,OLDBOY,OURFATHER,LORDOFLORDS,KINGOFKINGS,THELIGHTOFTHEWORLD,ETC6FROMTHEABOVEMENTIONED,WECANFINDTHATRELIGIONBRINGSMANYEUPHEMISTICTERMSINTHERELIGIOUSMATTER,ESPECIALLYTHENAMINGANDADDRESSINGOFGODTOTHELANGUAGE32THERACIALANDNATIONALORIGINSOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMITISKNOWNTOALL,THEPHENOMENONOFRACIALDISCRIMINATIONISDEEPLYROOTEDINAMERICAINWHICH“EQUALOPPORTUNITY”ISFLATTEREDBYAMERICANWHITEPEOPLEASANEQUALRIGHTENJOYEDBYEVERYONEDUETOTHEPRESSUREOFSOCIALPUBLICOPINION,ALTHOUGHSOMEWHITESDISCRIMINATETHEBLACKFROMTHEIRHEART,THEYWILLNOTEXPOSETHISKINDOFPREJUDICEINPUBLICMEANWHILE,FEWPEOPLEDARETOHUMILIATEANDPERSECUTEBLACKSPUBLICLYFORNOREASONATALLINOTHERWORDS,THEWAYOFDISCRIMINATIONBECOMESTACTFULTHEREAREMANYEUPHEMISMSEMERGINGFORTHISREASONINTHE1930S,‘NIGGER’ISSTILLANEUTRALNOUNINENGLAND,ANDHASNOMEANINGOFHUMILIATINGBLACKSBUTSINCETHISWORDHASTHEOBVIOUSMEANINGOFDISCRIMINATINGTHEBLACKS,MOSTOFPEOPLEINENGLANDANDAMERICANSUSESOMEOTHEREUPHEMISTICWORDS,SUCHAS“COLOREDBLACK”INSTEADWHENTALKINGABOUTSOMEOTHERRACES,ITDOESNOTOFTENUSETHEDIRECTWORDSTHATARERELATEDTOCOLORPEOPLEOFTENUSESOMEEUPHEMISTICEXPRESSION,SUCHASTHEGEOGRAPHICNAME33HISTORICAL,LITERARYANDPOLITICALORIGINSOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMFROMTHETIMETHENORMANSCONQUEREDENGLANDIN1066,ENGLISHHASEMERGEDMANYEUPHEMISMSATTHATTIME,THEMAINREASONTOUSEEUPHEMISMISTHATTHELANGUAGEUSEDBYTHECONQUEREDISOFTENDISPARAGED,ANDISTHOUGHTASGROSSLANGUAGETHEUPPERCLASSSURELYDOESN’TWANTTOLOWERTHEIRSTATUSTOUSESUCHWORDSINORDERTOAVOIDUSINGSUCHGROSSWORDS,THEYTENDTOUSE“THEELEGANTWORDS”,WHICHORIGINATEDFROMLATINANDTHESEWORDSWEREMIXEDINTOENGLISHGRADUALLYTHEREAREALSOMANYEUPHEMISMSINLITERARYWORKSFOREXAMPLE,INHAMLET,SHAKESPEAREUSETHEEXPRESSION“THEUNDISCOVEREDCOUNTRYFROMWHOSEBOURNNOTRAVELERRETURNS”从来不曾有一个旅人回来过的神秘之国TOEXPRESSHISGREATSYMPATHYFORHAMLET7THEFAMOUSAMERICANWRITERMARKTWAINUSE“RELEASE”TOEXPRESS“DIE”INHISWORKTHEADVENTUREOFTOMSAWYERBESIDES,POLITICSISAFERTILEAREAFORTHEAPPEARANCEANDGROWTHOFENGLISHEUPHEMISM,WHICHISCOSMETICINEXPRESSIONBUTDECEPTIVEINNATUREEUPHEMISMSOFTHISKINDAREALWAYSCONSCIOUSLYANDDELIBERATELYTHECOSMETICEUPHEMISMCANBEEASILYFOUNDINAMERICANENGLISHGOVERNMENT’SDISCUSSIONOFTHEVIETNAMWARWASSATURATEDWITHEUPHEMISMSVILLAGESBURNEDANDINHABITANTSIMPRISONEDWERE‘PACIFICATIONS”;THEWARITSELFWASNOTAWARBUTA“CONFLICT”,THE“BOMBING”BECOMES“LOGISTICALSTRIKE”OR“CLOSEAIRSUPPORT”,AND“KILLING”BECOMES“WASTINGTHEENEMY”THESEEUPHEMISMSAREUSEDTODECEIVEANDTOHIDETHEDIRTYBUSINESSOFWAR8THEUSEOFSUCHPOLITICALEUPHEMISMSHELPSGOVERNMENTTOBEAUTIFYTHEACTIONANDPREVENTPEOPLEFROMTAKINGANYANTIGOVERNMENTACTIONSOINORDERTOSATISFYTHEPOLITICALNEEDS,MANYEUPHEMISMSCOMETOEXIST4THESOCIALCOMMUNICATIVEFUNCTIONOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMFROMTHEPERSPECTIVEOFLANGUAGECOMMUNICATION,EUPHEMISMFUNCTIONSTOAVOIDTABOOS,TOSHOWPOLITENESSANDCONCEALFEELINGSTHANKSTOEUPHEMISM,ITISEASYFORPEOPLETOACCEPTTHETHINGSTHATARELIKELYTOMAKEOTHERSFEELEMBARRASSEDORUNHAPPYITISPEOPLE’SGENERALCHARACTERTOEXPRESSTHEIRIDEASASMILDLYANDTACTFULLYASPOSSIBLEEUPHEMISMHELPSPEOPLETOREACHTHISGOALFROMTHEMOMENTEUPHEMISMCAMEINTOEXISTENCE,ITHASPLAYEDAVERYIMPORTANTROLEINOURDAILYCOMMUNICATION,ANDHELPESTABLISHAGOODRELATIONSHIPBETWEENHUMANBEINGSANDEVENSTRENGTHENTHESOCIALSTABILITYEUPHEMISMAREMOTIVATEDBYTHEDESIRENOTTOBEOFFENSIVEPEOPLEUSETHEMTOSHOWTHEIRPOLITENESS,TOAVOIDBEINGOFFENSIVEANDTOMEETTHEPSYCHOLOGICALANDBENEFICIALNEEDSOFBOTHSPEAKERSANDHEARERSINCOMMUNICATIONBUTSOMETIMESTHEYAREUSEDTOCONCEALORCOVERSOMETHINGACCORDINGLY,EUPHEMISMSERVESTHREEBASICCOMMUNICATIVEFUNCTIONSEVASIVEFUNCTION,POLITEFUNCTIONANDCOSMETICFUNCTION41THEEVASIVEFUNCTIONOFENGLISHEUPHEMISMTHEEVASIVEFUNCTIONOFEUPHEMISMISTOEVADEUSINGTABOOS,ENABLINGTHESPEAKERTOTALKABOUTTABOOEDTHINGSFREELYTHESETABOOEDTHINGSAREBELIEVEDTOBEDANGEROUSTOCERTAININDIVIDUALS,ORTOTHESOCIETYASAWHOLE,ORTOBEDISGUSTINGANDUNPLEASANT,ANDCAUSEFEARSUCHTABOOEDTHINGSINCLUDEDISEASE,DISABILITIES,DEATH,SEX,BODYEXCRETIONANDBODYELIMINATIONPROCESS,ETCPEOPLECANUSEEUPHEMISMSTOTALKABOUTWHATCANNOTBETALKEDDIRECTLY411INTERMSOFDISEASEANDDISABILITIESPEOPLEYEARNFORHEALTH,ANDFEARFORSPECIFICDISEASEANDEVERYSORTOFDISABILITYSOPEOPLEALWAYSUSETACTFULWAYTOEXPRESSTHEMFOREXAMPLE,SEXUALORVENEREALDISEA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