The Phenomenon of Precedence as a Factor of Linguistic Security (A Case Study of German Euphemisms)

Author’s name:

Nadezhda A. Golubeva


The aim of this article is to systematize and describe euphemisms as precedent (derived) units of the language and to define their role in ensuring linguistic security. The analysis of euphemisms in the German language highlights their cognitive peculiarities which consist in chang-ing the original meaning of the word or its structure. Euphemisms verbalize the thinking pro-cess based on available experience, namely precedent thinking which is one of the factors of linguistic security. In this article, linguistic security is viewed as a specific mode of thinking, and the interpreting potential of euphemisms is shown as a way of maintaining linguistic se-curity. The author illustrates manipulative capabilities of language on different levels, analyz-ing lexical and grammatical functions of euphemisms, with an emphasis on specific types of discourse, and singling out cognitive discourse strategies of using euphemisms. The article examines a number of general and particular problems associated with euphemisms and euphemization, analyzing closely related linguistic terms and describing the lexical aspect of euphemisms, their functional potential, and semantic spheres of their usage, with a special focus on euphemisms as used in religious, economic, and military discourse. Studying eu-phemisms in the German language, the author extrapolates her conclusions to cognitive and discursive peculiarities of euphemisms as a universal linguistic phenomenon, defining polydiscursiveness as the ability of a linguistic phenomenon to realize not the internal but the external potential of discourse.

DOI: 10.47388/2072-3490/lunn2020-si-32-43
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Key words discursive strategy; cognitive space; polydiscursiveness; perspective; euphemia


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