From: Denis Jamet <djametuniv-lyon3.fr>
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Full Title: Lexis
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis;English;Morphology;Pragmatics;Semantics
Call Deadline: 30-Jun-2010
Issue #7 : 'Euphemism and lexical creation / Euphemism as a word-formation
Keith Allan, Monash University, Australia, Kate Burridge, Monash
University, Australia, Eliecer Crespo-Fernandez, University of Castilla la
Mancha, Spain and Denis Jamet, University Jean Moulin - Lyon 3, France.
The English word 'euphemism' is found for the first time in a book
written in 1656 by Thomas Blount, Glossographia [Burchfield 1985: 13]; it
comes from Greek euphèmismos, which is itself derived from the adjective
euphèmos, 'of good omen' (from eu, 'good', and phèmi, 'I say').
Etymologically speaking, a euphemism is linked to taboos, and traditionally
consists in replacing the original signifier, perceived as being offensive
or unpleasant, by another one; it is often referred to as a 'veil' or a
'shroud' thrown over the signified, as if to conceal it.
But can euphemism be restricted to a mere ornamental, stylistic variation?
Pivotal studies such as Allan & Burridge [1991; 2007] have shown that
euphemism cannot be restricted to a mere linguistic device, but needs to be
considered as an everyday, comprehensive phenomenon, a 'verbal behavior'
[Crespo Fernández 2005: 78] which serves a specific, functional purpose in
social discourse [Fairclough 2008]. Indeed, euphemism is not just a matter
of pure lexical choice - i.e. a nice stylistic variation, a 'linguistic
makeup' [Crespo Fernández 2005: 79] - but a real choice made by the
speaker in a given discursive context, as Allan & Burridge [1991: 4] write:
[E]uphemism and dysphemism are principally determined by the choice of
expression within a given context: both world spoken of, and the world
It will also be interesting to consider 'dysphemism', which is, with
'euphemism', 'obverse sides of the same coin' [Allan & Burridge 1991:
7], which 'do not form clear-cut categories' [Crespo Fernández 2007: 15].
For issue #7 of Lexis, on the theme 'Euphemism and lexical creation /
Euphemism as a word-formation process', papers will question the role
played by euphemisms and/or dysphemisms in lexical creation or, in other
words, to consider the role of euphemisms and/or dysphemisms as
word-formation processes. Articles on topics such as the following (this is
a non-exhaustive list) are welcome:
* Euphemism treadmill: amelioration and pejoration.
* Taboo as a force triggering semantic, grammatical and phonological
* The etymology of taboo terms in the light of word formation patterns.
* Dysphemism as a lexical strategy in slang and 'marginal' registers.
* The translation of euphemism and dysphemism in another language /
* The importance of figurative language in the creation of euphemism.
* The force of connotation in any account of euphemism and dysphemism.
Euphemism and word-formation
* Euphemism and dysphemism as creative (and emotive) word formation
* Synchronic and diachronic aspects of euphemism and dysphemism as
devices of lexical creation.
* The semantic extension and reduction of euphemism and dysphemism as a
means of lexical creativity.
* Cross-cultural euphemistic and dysphemistic word-formation strategies.
Euphemism and word-formation processes
* Euphemistically and dysphemistically-motivated categories of word
* Dysphemism and phonaesthesia. The (possible) pejorative value of
phonological units in lexical formation.
* The phonetic structure of euphemisms and dysphemisms.
* Euphemistic or dysphemistic processes involved in rhyming slang.
* The euphemistic or dysphemistic motivation of loan words.
* The role of shortening in the creation of euphemistic and
dysphemistic lexical units.
* Positively and negatively loaded affixes.
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