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Thread: Euphemisms

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    Euphemisms



    Have you noticed all those PC ways of saying things that either make it more complicated, or make you feel like you are being tricked?

    I saw all these on the way to work this morning (the translations are my own )

    "Supply chain solutions" - tankers

    "Cultural Quarter" - two theatres and a bingo hall

    "Terms and conditions apply" - there's a catch!

    "Maintenance engineer" - handyman

    "Never beaten on service" - overpriced

    "Brown's Freezer Meats" - Brown's abattoir

    I bet you've come across some too! Please share

    Edit: I didn't anticipate that this would be become a serious discussion, but it have so I have moved it here!
    Last edited by Tsuyoiko; 10-05-06 at 09:18. Reason: Moved thread

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    Physical persuasion=toture (well that's probably not funny )

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    from George Carlin
    I don't like words that hide the truth. I don't words that conceal reality. I don't like euphemisms, or euphemistic language. And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Cause Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent the kind of a soft language to protest themselves from it, and it gets worse with every generation. For some reason, it just keeps getting worse. I'll give you an example of that. There's a condition in combat. Most people know about it. It's when a fighting person's nervous system has been stressed to it's absolute peak and maximum. Can't take anymore input. The nervous system has either (click) snapped or is about to snap.

    In the first world war, that condition was called shell shock. Simple, honest, direct language. Two syllables, shell shock. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. That was seventy years ago. Then a whole generation went by and the second world war came along and very same combat condition was called battle fatigue. Four syllables now. Takes a little longer to say. Doesn't seem to hurt as much. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shell shock! Battle fatigue. Then we had the war in Korea, 1950. Madison avenue was riding high by that time, and the very same combat condition was called operational exhaustion. Hey, were up to eight syllables now! And the humanity has been squeezed completely out of the phrase. It's totally sterile now. Operational exhaustion. Sounds like something that might happen to your car. Then of course, came the war in Viet Nam, which has only been over for about sixteen or seventeen years, and thanks to the lies and deceits surrounding that war, I guess it's no surprise that the very same condition was called post-traumatic stress disorder. Still eight syllables, but we've added a hyphen! And the pain is completely buried under jargon. Post-traumatic stress disorder. I'll bet you if we'd of still been calling it shell shock, some of those Viet Nam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time. I'll betcha. I'll betcha.
    Nowadays, it's even known as "post-traumatic stress reaction," so even the "disorder" part too strongly infers that something might actually be wrong with sending our kids to war.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Wow. Actually this could be in Serious Discussion section, don't you think? I mean, a discussion about disguising meanings through language, as well as a thread for funny euphemisms.

    Was it Jane Austen who said, "Language was given to us to make our meaning clear, not to hide it"?

    The worst one for me is "Will you progress this?", meaning "It's your responsibility now, you will have to do all the hard work and the buck stops with you". (Aargh! That sucks! ><)

    Another one is when something is "interesting". For "interesting", read "I don't like it, but I'm being polite".

    There are probably a number of others connected with my main work, but I've been away so long that I've (very thankfully!) forgotten most of them - no doubt tomorrow I will get my memory forcibly refreshed!

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    I agree that this thread could be moved to the Serious Discussion section. Besides I just found some sites that talk about euphemisms and double speak.
    Last edited by Ma Cherie; 10-05-06 at 20:46.

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    OK guys, I agree! I'd love to see those sites Ma Cherie!

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    I found this link of the definition of doublespeak and how it's used.
    http://www.damronplanet.com/doublespeak/index.html

    It's really disturbing, though because I used to think that doublespeak only existed in Orwell's novel, 1984. But I realized now that it's used in everyday speech and lots of people don't even know.

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    That's a good link Ma Cherie. I like that it points out that sometimes euphemisms can be OK - like saying 'passed away' instead of 'died'.

    As a union rep, my husband comes across a lot of them, such as:

    conduct code - rules
    stage 1/2/3 - warnings
    one-to-one - appraisal
    procedural error - c0ck-up
    worktime listening - team brief
    management support group - ordinary workers who pretend to be managers so that managers don't have to speak to customers
    return to work - discussion about absence
    customer services - complaints
    scheduled attendance - overtime
    contact centre - call centre
    comfort break - pee
    cause for dismissal - sacking/firing
    NCI (non-culpable inefficency) - being crap at your job
    hand-holding - additional on-the-job training

    I think most of these fall in the harmful category, as they are misleading by trying to make things sound better than they are.
    Last edited by Tsuyoiko; 11-05-06 at 14:15.

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    "Negative patient care outcome - the patient died"
    That's... funny. ~is not sure whether or not to laugh, out of respect for the dead~

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    collateral damage - oops, we blew up a hospital
    friendly fire - killed your partner
    downsizing - this $10,000,000 mansion doesn't pay for itself
    war on terror - scare the crap out of your citizens
    shock and awe - terror
    spreading democracy - building pipelines
    9/11 - re-election strategy
    no child left behind - education's too expensive to have kids repeat a year

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    Both British and American people love euphemisms. I think that English speakers are fonder of them than the average speakers of other languages. Americans are especially good at "politically correct" euphemisms, while the Brits specialise in understatements (e.g. it's pelting with rain and someone says "it's a bit humid today, isn't it ?").

    Euphemisms (or rather, words that almost always mean something else) in French are especially common to trick people, for instance in real estate sales. So if you are looking for a flat, keep in mind that "bright" or "great view" means "high floor without lift", "to freshen up" means "in poor condition", and "to renovate" means it is a ruin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Euphemisms (or rather, words that almost always mean something else) in French are especially common to trick people, for instance in real estate sales. So if you are looking for a flat, keep in mind that "bright" or "great view" means "high floor without lift", "to freshen up" means "in poor condition", and "to renovate" means it is a ruin.
    We have that here too. My house has a lean-to porch at the back that is just a corregated plastic roof screwed to some battening against the outside of the kitchen wall, with a 'wall' of tongue-and-groove the other side and a door at the end. The floor is just the bare flagstones of the back yard. In the estate agents literature it was referred to as a 'conservatory'!

    Yesterday I saw:

    non-consensual sex = rape

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    Yes; here we tend to use the word 'quaint' to mean 'ramshackle', and 'picturesque' to mean 'inconvenient'.

    In my job, people tend to refer to other people's 'learning needs' when what they really mean is 'the number of qualifications the government wants them to get in order to meet their targets'. 'Hard-to-reach learners' are those people who don't want to go to any more classes, and have to be dragged in, kicking and screaming, so that adult education policy-makers can get their salaries paid.

    And people always use the word 'issue' when they mean 'problem'.

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    Custodial services = prisoner transport

    Private hire vehicle = taxi

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    I came across an odd turn of phrase during some proof reading the other day...

    High levels of daily net outflow of skills = a lot of commuters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie View Post
    I found this link of the definition of doublespeak and how it's used.
    http://www.damronplanet.com/doublespeak/index.html

    It's really disturbing, though because I used to think that doublespeak only existed in Orwell's novel, 1984. But I realized now that it's used in everyday speech and lots of people don't even know.
    If one wanted to see humorous, but accurate, examples of Double Speak, Gobbledygook etc. I can recommend the UK TV program called "Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime Minister". In my experience the proliferation of Double Speak etc. is most evident in politicians and government departments. One currently doing the rounds is "Going forward", as in "The Budgetary expenditure rationalisation program, going forward is expected......". What they really mean, I think, is "future".

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