Tracing the Space Between Euphemisms and Dysphemisms: The Case of Obesity in English and German

  • Sanja Škifić University of Zadar
  • Anita Pavić Pintarić University of Zadar
Keywords: euphemisms, dysphemisms, obesity, English, German

Abstract

The paper investigates how obesity as an aspect of physical appearance is represented in English and German. The existence of various expressions that refer to obesity leads to the assumption that both investigated languages rely on euphemisms and dysphemisms to talk about obesity. Using a corpus of different expressions from lexicographic sources, we analyse their descriptions and their classification as euphemisms in specialized and general dictionaries. Semantic phenomena that might be identified within such expressions were also taken into consideration. To investigate the usage of the identified euphemisms and dysphemisms, a questionnaire was administered among native speakers of English and German. The corpus was used to trace the space between euphemisms and dysphemisms in language use. The main goal was to identify the ways in which obesity is referred to in two different sociocultural contexts, and to establish the extent to which lexicographic identifications and descriptions of euphemisms overlap with native speakers’ perceptions and use of such items.

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Published
2019-12-04
How to Cite
ŠkifićS., & Pavić PintarićA. (2019). Tracing the Space Between Euphemisms and Dysphemisms: The Case of Obesity in English and German. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 16(2), 93-114. https://doi.org/10.4312/elope.16.2.93-114