Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Politically Correct Euphemisms in Mass Media (Based on American and Turkish Online Periodicals of the Beginning of the 21st Century)

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Politically Correct Euphemisms in Mass Media (Based on American and Turkish Online Periodicals of the Beginning of the 21st Century)

Article excerpt

Abstract

There is abundant research on euphemisms, but there are hardly any of them devoted to euphemisms in relation with the theory of political correctness based on the material of recognized American and Turkish online periodicals of the beginning of the 21st century. The aim of the paper is to study the approaches to the definitions of "euphemism" and "political correctness" offered by Russian and Western linguists, to analyze the classifications and functional peculiarities of euphemisms within the framework of the theory of political correctness. The key research method is the method of comparative analysis which, based on the theoretical data about euphemisms in the English and Turkish languages, helped us to single out the cases of the use of euphemisms in modern American and Turkish online periodicals and compare the types of politically correct euphemisms in the two languages. The paper indicates the active research of euphemisms in the language of mass media by Russian and foreign (American and Turkish) linguists. The results of the study found that, compared to Turkish online newspapers and magazines, modern American online periodicals are characterized by a wider use of politically correct lexemes. The paper findings may be useful for researches who deal with political discourse, comparative analysis, the use of political lexemes and political euphemisms within the framework of the theory of political correctness.

Keywords: euphemism, political correctness, mass media, politically correct euphemisms, political discourse

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

In a constantly changing world print media, along with television, is acknowledged as the main source of information. The content of most printed publications deals with domestic social and political relations as well as foreign policy relations of leading countries. At present mass media shows "a keen interest in covering military, international and interethnic conflicts" (Kiprskaia, 2005). Newspapers and periodicals write about all the events occurring in the world and come out to be their catalyst. As a result, political vocabulary of printed editions tumbles into the modern literary language. For a good ten years print media of the majority of countries has been successfully using equivocations, misrepresentations of information and beclouding unpleasant facts in order to manipulate public consciousness. The authors of socio-political articles turn to various ways of veiling the truth and "camouflaging the reality" (Kiprskaia, 2005), replacing rude words by neutral ones, using euphemisms.

Many linguists have recognized the importance of studying euphemisms. Nevertheless, there are hardly any researches devoted to euphemisms in relation with the theory of political correctness based on the material of authoritative American and Turkish online newspapers of the beginning of the 21st century. The aim of the paper is to study the approaches to the definitions of the concepts "euphemism" and "political correctness" offered by Russian and Western linguists, to analyze the classifications and functional peculiarities of euphemisms within the framework of the theory of political correctness.

1.2 Status of a Problem

Since ancient times, people have used euphemisms in the process of communication. Katsev A.M. points out that the taboo language "served as the powerful lever of word creating process" (Katsev, 1998) that led to the emergence of euphemisms.

Researchers, who deal with the language phenomenon of euphemisms (Katsev, 1998; Neaman, Silver, 1995; Halmari, 2010; Crespo-Fernandez, 2014; Bozkaplan, 2009; Aksan, 2012), note that the process of creation of euphemisms has experienced rises and falls depending on the moral principles that existed at different times. In the second half of the 20th century there was one of the similar rises when the theory of "political correctness" was widely spread in the USA.

The theory of political correctness is based on the aspiration of the person to be polite, tactful and sympathetic that can be considered as the main motive for creating euphemisms. …

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