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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
ISSN : (Online)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.74 pp.115-133

A Criterion to Distinguish Benign Euphemism from Malicious Doublespeak

Hyun-jee Kang
Kyungpook National University
Received: June 11, 2013 Revised version: August 30, 2013 Accepted: September 15, 2013


The termeuphemism is not polysemous. However it is frequently employed in a2-way form; sometimes as a channel to convey Speaker's innocuous indirectmessage (euphemism) and in other times as a device to hide Speaker'smalicious intention (doublespeak). The former is intended to promotepoliteness from Speaker to Hearer and the other is a manipulated form tosecure Speaker‘s unduly profit at the cost of Hearer. This paper discusseswhat distinguishes benign euphemism from malicious doublespeak. Thiswriter probes into the similarities and dissimilarities between euphemismand doublespeak by comparing Allen & Burridge (1991) and Lutz (1989) andproposes Leech's (1987) cost-benefit module as a possible criterion for tellingbenign euphemism from malicious doublespeak. Overall this research triesto shed light on how language can be manipulated to Speaker's purposes.