Volume 17, Issue 6
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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Euphemism is a discursive strategy that politicians use to approach unsettling, embarrassing, or distasteful, i.e. taboo, topics without appearing inconsiderate to people’s concerns. Following a critical discourse-analytic approach to political language, this paper discusses the communicative functions that euphemism performs in the discourse of local and state politicians from New Jersey (USA) in a sample of language data excerpted from The Star-Ledger, the state’s largest newspaper. The analysis reveals that (metaphorical and non-metaphorical) euphemism constitutes a major strategy of self-protection and positive self-presentation for legislators which allows them – mostly by understatement, periphrasis, and metaphor – first, to refer to socially disadvantaged groups or address delicate subjects without sounding insensitive; second, to criticize their political opponents in a socially acceptable way; and third, to purposely conceal from the public unsettling or controversial topics.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): conceptual metaphor; euphemism; face; PC language; political discourse
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