A Cognitive Study of the Construction of Euphemistic Meaning Via the Process of Negation in Persian

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Ph.D. Graduated of Linguistics, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor of Linguistics, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Professor of Linguistics, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

The aim of this article is to explain the construction of euphemistic meaning via the process of negation from the perspective of cognitive linguistics. The main question of the present study is how the cognitive mechanism of negation acts for constructing euphemistic meaning and consequently for motivating euphemistic linguistic structures. The present research explains euphemism in Persian by a descriptive-analytical method. Data were also collected manually from mostly library resources containing several Persian-language dictionaries. In this study, it is shown that the cognitive process of negation is volitionally applied to a conceptual content by the conceptualizer and consequently a pleasant conceptual content is activated and attention is drawn toward it. Based on the negation process, the negated pleasant concept is represented phonetically and the strength of attention over the unpleasant content which has not been represented at the linguistic level will decrease. Due to the representation of the negated pleasant concept at the linguistic level and based on the type of guided attention distribution pattern encoded in the negative linguistic forms, the speaker tries to distribute a portion of the listener's attention sources over the pleasant content and he/she tries to decrease the strength of attention on the unpleasant concept. In fact, instead of directly encoding an unpleasant concept at the linguistic level, the speaker uses indirect methods and encodes "the negated pleasant concept". By this indirect reference, lesser attention is assigned to the unpleasant concept than when the concept is directly represented in the language. Therefore, linguistic negations structure the concepts in such a way that the window of attention does not open on the unpleasant aspects of the entity in question and does not put them at the center of attention, and through this way, euphemistic meaning will be constructed. It should be noted that the present study re-emphasizes on the interaction and overlap of language and other general cognitive abilities.

Keywords


Allan, K. & K., Burridge. 1991. Euphemism and Dysphemism: Language Used as Shield and Weapon. New York: Oxford University Press.
Allwood, J. S., & Gärdenfors, P. (Eds.). 1999. Cognitive semantics: Meaning and cognition. John Benjamins Publishing.
Amid, H. 2002. Amid's Dictionary. 23 th Edition. Tehran: Amir Kabir. [InPersian].  
Amini, A. 1990. Folklore Dictionary. second edition. Isfahan: University of Isfahan.[In Persian]. 
 Anousheh, H& et al. 2002. Dictionary of Persian Literature. Volume 2: Terms, themes and topics of Persian literature. Tehran: Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance Publications. [In Persian]. 
Anvari, H and et al. 2002. Sokhan Comprehensive Dictionary. Tehran: Sokhan. [In Persian]. 
Anzabinejad, R, and Mansour Sarvat. 1987. Dictionary Of Slang And Contemporary Words, Including Slang Words And Compounds And New And Common Words in The Works of Contemporary Persian Writers. First Edition. Tehran. Amir Kabir Publications. [In Persian].
Bayati, l. 2010. The Structural Analysis of Euphemism in Persian. M.A. Thesis. Islamic Azad University. Central Tehran Branch. [In Persian]. 
Chang, S. J. 1996. Korean (Vol. 4). John Benjamins Publishing.
Crespo-Fernández, E. 2013. Euphemistic Metaphors in English and Spanish Epitaphs: A Comparative Study/Metáforas eufemísticas en epitafios ingleses y españoles: Un estudio contrastivo. Atlantis, 99-118.
Dabrowska, E., & Divjak, D. (Eds.). 2015. Handbook of cognitive linguistics.Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG.
Dad, Sima. 1999. Dictionary of Literary Terms (Glossary, Persian / European Literary Concepts and Terms). Tehran: Morvarid. [In Persian]. 
Dominguez, P. J. 2005. Some Theses on Euphemisms and Dysphemism. Studia Anglica Resoviensia 25, 9-16.
Evans, V. & M., Green. 2006. Cognitive Linguistics: An Introduction. Edinburgh University Press.
Evans, V. 2006. Cognitive linguistics. Edinburgh University Press.
Evans, V. 2016. Cognitive Linguistics. In Chipman, S. E. (Ed.).. The Oxford handbook of cognitive science. Oxford University Press.
Fan, Z. 2006. The Mechanism of Euphemism: A Cognitive Linguistic Interpretation. US-China Foreign Language, Volume 4, No. 7 (Serial No. 34).
Fararoy, J. 2010. Persian Thesaurus. Digital Version of Supreme Council of Information. [In Persian].
Geeraerts, D. (Ed.). 2006. Cognitive linguistics: Basic readings. Walter de Gruyter.
Geeraerts, D., & Cuyckens, H. 2007. Introducing cognitive linguistics. In The Oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics. OUP USA.
Givón, T. 1979. On understanding grammar (Vol. 379). New York: Academic Press.
Givon, T,. 1979. On understanding grammar. New York: Academic Press.
Gradecak-Erdeljic, T. & G., Milic. 2011. Metonymy at the Crossroads: A Case of Euphemisms and Dysphemisms. In: Beczes, Reka, Antonio Barcelona and Francisco Ruize de Mendeza (eds. ), Defining Metonymy in Cognitive Linguistics: Towards a Consensus View. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 147-66.
Hammad, O. 2007. Euphemism: Sweet Talking or Deception?. D-Essay in Linguistic, Hogskolan Dalarna.
Izanlou, H. & H., Gholami. 2012. Death Euphemism and Dysphemism in Persian Language. Young Scientist. No8 (43), 180-185.
Jamalzadeh, M,. 2003. Folk Dictionary. By the efforts of Mohammad Jafar Mahjoub. second edition. Tehran: Sokhan. [In Persian].   
Kermer, F. 2016. A cognitive grammar approach to teaching tense and aspect in the L2 context. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Lakoff, G. 1987. Women, fire, and dangerous things. University of Chicago press.
Lakoff, G. 2014. The all new don't think of an elephant!: Know your values and frame the debate. Chelsea Green Publishing.
Langacker, R. W. 2013. Essentials of cognitive grammar. Oxford University Press.
Lanham, R. A. 1991. A handlist of rhetorical terms (p. 108). Berkeley: University of California Press.
Leech, G. N. 2014. The pragmatics of politeness. Oxford University Press, USA.
Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, B. 1996. Depth of negation: A cognitive semantic study. Łódź University Press.
Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, B. 1998. Negativity as a cognitive and interactional concept. SAP 33, 265-280.
Linfoot-Ham, K. 2005. The Linguistics of Euphemism: A Diachronic Study of Euphemism Formation. Journal of Language and Linguistics, 4(2), 227-263.
Łyda, A., & Warchał, K. 2011. Ethnic and Disciplinary Cultures and Understatement: Litotic Constructions in Polish and English Linguistics and Biology Research Articles. In Aspects of Culture in Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Learning (pp. 193-216). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Martin, E. (Ed.). 2015. Concise colour medical dictionary. Oxford University Press.
Mazzon, G. 2004. A History of English Negation. Pearson Education
Mirza Suzani, S. (2006). Euphemism in Translation. Translation Studies. 4(14). Tehran: Allameh Tabatabai University. [In Persian].
 Mirzasuzni, Samad. 2006. Application of Euphemism in Translation. Journal of Translation Studies.issue 4.  Tehran: Allameh Tabatabai University. [In Persian]. 
Moin, M,. 1992. Persian Dictionary. Ch 8. Tehran: Amirkabir. [In Persian]. 
Moritz, I. 2018. Metonymy-based euphemisms in war-related speeches by George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In Linguistic Taboo Revisited Novel Insights from Cognitive Perspectivess. Walter de Gruyter GmbH.
Munteano, M.B. 1953. "Les implications esthe´tiques de l’euphe´misme en France au XVIIIesie`cle". Cahiers de l’AssociationInternationale.des E´ tudesFranc_aises 3–5, 153–166.
Nyakoe, D. G., Matu, P. M., & Ongarora, D. O. 2012. Conceptualization of'Death is a Journey'and'Death as Rest' in EkeGusii Euphemism. Theory & Practice in Language Studies, 2(7).Oxford E-reference edition
Pearsall, J., & Hanks, P. (Eds.). 1998. The new Oxford dictionary of English (Vol. 16). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Peters, H., 2006 Litotes. In: Sloane Th-O (ed) Encyclopedia of Rhetoric. Oxford University Press.
Rawson, H., 1981. A Dictionary of Euphemisms and Other Doubletalk. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.
Redfern, W.D., 1994. Euphemism. In: The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Oxford .Volume 3, S. 1180-1181.
Shamlou, A., 1998, 1999, 1999, 2002. The Book of Alley: Comprehensive Words, Idioms, Interpretations, Proverbs. Tehran: Maziyar. [In Persian]. 
Silaški, N., 2011. Metaphors and euphemisms–the case of death in English and Serbian. Filološki pregled, 38(2), 101-114.
Talmy, L., 2007. Attention phenomena. In The Oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics.
Talmy, L., 2018. Ten lectures on cognitive semantics. Brill.
Tyler, A., 2012. Cognitive linguistics and second language learning: Theoretical basics and experimental evidence. Routledge.
Wilson, R. A., & Keil, F. C. (Eds.)., 2001. The MIT encyclopedia of the cognitive sciences. MIT press.
Zhao, X., 2010. Study on the Features of English Political Euphemism and its Functions. English Language Teaching. Vol. 3, No. 1.
Volume 11, Issue 2
February 2021
Pages 199-222
  • Receive Date: 22 January 2020
  • Revise Date: 18 March 2021
  • Accept Date: 26 November 2020
  • First Publish Date: 27 November 2020