The role of euphemisms in the process of public opinion formation

The role of euphemisms in the process of public opinion formation

Son H. I.

Ph. D. (Linguistics), Research Professor, Institute of Russian Studies Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, The Republic of Korea

Mihaylova E.A.

Ph. D. (Soc.), Director of Special Programs in VCIOM, Associate Professor, Sociology and Humanitarian Culture Faculty, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI

ID of the Article:

For citation:

Son H. I., Mihaylova E.A. The role of euphemisms in the process of public opinion formation. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 2. P. 96-102


When we refer to taboo topics (such as disability, sex, death and so on) in a polite way, euphemism is widely used. Using euphemism changes emotional coloring of key messages. This article discusses effect of euphemistic expressions on the formation of public opinion on various social phenomena and processes, including analysis of euphemisms meaning in the process of particular social groups (national, ethnic) stigmatization. The presence of the taboo on direct expression of the distinctive characteristics of minority groups leads to a change of euphemism’s function in the formation of public opinion, giving them marked features of set of characteristics.

Taboo; euphemism; ethnic group; people with disabilities; gender and sexual minorities; stigma


Кочкина Е.В., Михайлова Е. А. Сексуальность: теории, социокультурные тренды и общественное мнение россиян // Мониторинг общественного мнения: экономические и социальные перемены. 2016. № 1. С. 146–155 [Kochkina E.V., Mikhaylova E. A. Sexuality: theoretical, frames, socio-cultural trends and Russian public opinion. Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes. 2016. No. 1: 146–155. (In Rus.)]

Палажченко М. Ю. Политическая корректность в культурной и языковой традиции: Дисс. … канд. культурол. наук. М., 2004. [Palazhchenko M. Yu. (2004) Politicheskaya korrektnost v kulturnoy i yazyikovoy traditsii (Political correctness in the cultural and linguistic traditions): dissertatsiya. (In Rus.)]

Панин В. В. Политическая корректность как культурно-поведенческая и языковая категория: Дисс. … канд. филол. наук. Тюмень, 2004. [Panin V.V. (2004) Politicheskaya korrektnost kak kulturnopovedencheskaya i yazyikovaya kategoriya (Political correctness as a cultural and behavioral and language category) (In Rus.)]

Feagin Joe R. (1984) Racial and ethnic relations. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Wirth L. (1945) The Problem of Minority Groups. The Science of Man in the World Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press.

강현석, 강희숙, 박경래, 박용한, 백경숙, 서경희, 양명희, 이정복, 조태린, 허재영. 사회언어학: 언어와 사회, 그리고 문화. 서울: 글로벌콘텐츠, 2014. [Kang Hyonsok, Kang Hisuk, Pak Kyonre, Pak Yongchhan, Pek Kyong Suk, So Kyonghi, Yang Myonghi, Li Chzhonvok, Chho Terin, Ho Chzheyong (2014). Sociolinguistics: Language, Society and Culture] (In Korean)

박영순. 은유 연구의 성과와 방법론 // 한국어의미학. 2006. No 20: 1–28. [Pak Yongsun. Overview of theories of metaphor and search for metaphor research methodology. The Korean Journal of Linguistics. 2006. No. 20: 1–28] (In Korean)

오예옥. 언어사용에서의 은유와 환유. 서울: 도서출판 역락, 2011. [Eoc O. Metaphor and metonymy in language use (2011). Seoul] (In Korean)

조희숙. 러시아어 동의어 시스템에서 긍정적/부정적 뉘앙스와 완곡어/위악어와의 연관성 연구 (신체부위 를 지칭하는 어휘를 중심으로) // 노어노문학. 2006a. No. 18–3: 33–58. [Cho Hisuk. The correlation between the positive / negative nuances and evfemizom / dysphemism synonymous in Russian system based on the names of body parts. Korean Journal of Russian language and literature. 2006a. No. 18–3: 33–58] (In Korean)

조희숙. 러시아 동의어 시스템에서 완곡어와 위악어의 위치 연구 // 슬라브어 연구. 2006b. No. 11: 91–106. [Cho Hisuk. On the status of euphemism and dysphemism in Russian synonymic system. Studies in Slavonic languages. 2006b. No 11: 91–106] (In Korean)

조희숙. 동의어 발생과 사회심리언어학적 현상 – 완곡어와 위악어의 상관관계 고찰 // 노어노문학. 2009. No. 21–2: 97–126. [Cho Hisuk. The emergence of synonyms and socio-psycholinguistic phenomenon – a study of correlations between euphemism and dysphemism. Korean Journal of Russian language and literature. 2009. No. 21–2: 97–126] (In Korean)

한국문학평론가협회. 서울: 국학자료원, 2006. [Korean Association of literary critics. Dictionary of literary and critical terms (2006)] (In Korean)

한국사회언어학회. 사회언어학 사전. 서울: 소통, 2012. [Sociolinguistic Korean society. Sociolinguistics dictionary (2012)] (In Korean)

Content No 2, 2017