ASSESSING THE OFFENSIVENESS LEVEL OF TABOO WORDS IN PERSIAN

Abstract

Author(s): Mohsen BAKHTIAR

Taboo words have always been embarrassing and even frightening to utter among almost all human beings. This issue takes on a very particular shape in a religion-stricken society like Iran with its own particular way of conceptualization of morality. This study examines the effect of “gender” and “ formality of situations” on the use of euphemisms in Persian. Adopting Allan & Burridge(2006)’s pragmatic approach towards euphemisms, we aimed to find out 1. How social and contextual variables affect the use of euphemisms 2.then, determine the x-phemistic value of taboo-denoting words and expressins. This was carried out through distributing an opinion survey among 30 Iranian men and women ranging 20 to 30 years old, in which they were asked to determine the x-phemistic value(euphemistic-orthophemistic-dysphemistic) of 15 words and expressions denoting the concept ‘prostitute’ ranging from highly euphemistic to complete taboo, based on the provided circumstances in the questionnare.

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