认知语言学角度下英语委婉语的隐喻研究_英语论文.doc

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Abstract:Euphemisms are roundabout ways to replace rude and blunt expressions to avoid embarrassment. They can easily be found everywhere in our daily communication and have been paid attention by many scholars. However, the former researchers usually perceived euphemisms as a linguistic and social phenomenon, few study them from the cognitive perspective. This thesis considers euphemism as a mental phenomenon, which can help us understand the nature of euphemism better.

There’s no denying fact that euphemisms have intimate connections with taboos. But euphemisms are not confined to merely take place of taboos. In this study, it believes that euphemisms can also substitute anything that makes people uneasy and ridiculous in communication. And this thesis solves three questions, including the classification of euphemisms, the association between euphemisms and the euphemized as well as the explanation of metaphors in English euphemism from the angle of cognitive linguistics.

This study is divided into three phases: definition, classification and explanation. The main difference of this study from others lies in that based on the relationship between euphemisms and the euphemized subjects, it reclassifies English euphemism into two groups, that is to say, euphemisms relating to what people really refer to in meaning or those have similar form with the subjects. An explanation based on classification adds more credibility and systematicness to this study. By applying the conceptual metaphor theory, this thesis gives an explanation of English euphemism, in reference to Liu Chunbao’s euphemism dictionary and the British National Corpus (BNC).

This thesis draws two conclusions. Firstly, the euphemized terms and euphemisms belong to one cognitive category. Although both of them have some attributes that people are unwilling to say, euphemisms can hide some negative attributes. In this way, people’s attention is drawn away and the possible embarrassing situation is avoided. In the second place, metaphor forms the mechanism for English euphemism. In order to get mutual understanding in communication, euphemisms have some similar features with the euphemized subjects either in form or in meaning. This kind of correspondence lays the foundation for metaphor and euphemisms are used to refer to the euphemized subjects. The metaphor mechanism for English euphemism is made up of three situations: the whole for the part, the part for the whole and one part for another part. Whichever situation they are in, people need more time to understand what they really refer to and the embarrassment is avoided.

 

Keywords:  English euphemism  conceptual metaphor theory  cognitive linguistics

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