The role of euphemisms in the process of public opinion formation

Son H. I.

Ph. D. (Linguistics), Research Professor, Institute of Russian Studies Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, The Republic of Korea

Mihaylova E.A.

Ph. D. (Soc.), Director of Special Programs in VCIOM, Associate Professor, Sociology and Humanitarian Culture Faculty, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI

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Son H. I., Mihaylova E.A. The role of euphemisms in the process of public opinion formation. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 2. P. 96-102


When we refer to taboo topics (such as disability, sex, death and so on) in a polite way, euphemism is widely used. Using euphemism changes emotional coloring of key messages. This article discusses effect of euphemistic expressions on the formation of public opinion on various social phenomena and processes, including analysis of euphemisms meaning in the process of particular social groups (national, ethnic) stigmatization. The presence of the taboo on direct expression of the distinctive characteristics of minority groups leads to a change of euphemism’s function in the formation of public opinion, giving them marked features of set of characteristics.

Taboo; euphemism; ethnic group; people with disabilities; gender and sexual minorities; stigma

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