The Features of English Political Euphemism

. Introduction
Euphemism, a common phenomenon in human language use, has attracted much attention home and abroad. With the
arrival of foreign linguistic theories in China since 1980s, Chinese scholars have published a large number of essays and
books which focus on euphemism from different perspectives and systematically summarize the causes of its production,
way of composition, classification, and pragmatic principles of composition as well as its social functions. (Shu, 1995,
p17; Liu, 2000, p36) Actually, political euphemism has always been a point of penetration for foreign political linguists
to evaluate and criticize political discourse. In the recent years, with the establishment of the selected English
newspaper reading course in many Chinese colleges, English political euphemism began to attract people’s attention.
However, it is mainly confined to its disguising function (Pan, 2004, p85), leaving its influences on people’s thoughts
and ideology untouched. This paper begins with an analysis on the features of political euphemism and explores its two
main social functions--- disguising or cheating function and persuasive function with Austin’s Speech Act Theory.
Overall, this paper aims at further revealing the essential features of political euphemism, expanding people’s vision in
euphemism and revealing the relationship among language, thought and existence to some extent.
2. Features of Political Euphemism
Euphemism is defined in different ways from the perspectives of pragmatics and style: Hongrui Wen (2002) once
quoted several representative definitions, which have it in common that euphemism is a replacement of ordinary
expressions with propitious or exaggerated ones. Political euphemism is created in political life and serves political
purposes. Generally speaking, it is a tool for political participants to hide scandals, disguise the truth, guide public
thoughts when discussing social issues or events. In spite of some common...