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Metonymic trigger in euphemy

L.V. Porokhnitskaya
80,00 ₽

UDC 81`37          


Porokhnitskaya Lydia V.,

Doctor of Philology, Professor

of the English Lexicology Department

Moscow State Linguistic University



The paper examines the specific role that metonymic concepts play in the semantics of euphemisms. It is shown that metonymic concepts are basic structures that underlie metaphoric concepts the meaning of euphemisms is modelled on. Such metonymic conceptual structures (metonymic triggers) constitute patterns that may generate numerous metaphoric concepts of different degree of complexity.

The findings of our research testify to the fact that it is possible to single out two ways of the metonymic conceptual actualization within the framework of metaphoric concepts. In the first case gradual metaphoric complication of the metonymic concept results in the weakening of the euphemistic potential of a word or a phrase. This transformation may be accompanied by the specification of the conceptual focus though in most cases the focus is preserved. In the second case metaphoric complication of a simple metonymic concept triggers the enhancing of the euphemistic potential of a language unit. As a result, it may function in a wider range of communicative situations.

The research shows that the two models are actualized differently in classical euphemy and in modern politically correct discourse. Whereas in traditional euphemistic spheres both models are common, in politically correct discourse it is the first pattern that is especially productive. 

Keywords: metaphoric concept, metonymic concept, metonymic trigger, semantics of a euphemism, conceptual focus, euphemistic potential.



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