Taboos and Euphemism in Chinese Ⅳ
Euphemisms are useful for getting around situations where things are not generally directl mentioned. Menstruation is considered a delicate topic in many cultures, and so many euphemisms have evolved to refer to it in a polite way, including “period”, “be unlucky”, “red comes”.
Pregnancy is also often talked around, including “She has it”, “She has something happy”, or “She is going to be a mother”. When going to the toilet, people might say “relieving nature”, “going to do a No 1”, “going to wash my hands”, or merely “Please excuse me for a while”.
In former times, people were even more circumspect, saying “changing clothes”. Euphemisms are also used for some physical disabilities, including “hard of hearing” for deafness, or “has difficulty walking” for “lameness”.
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Euphemisms are also used in social, political and economic terms. In English, developing nation is used to describe a poor nation. A tax increase becomes revenue enhancement. Second-hand cars are known as pre-owned cars…
In Chinese, a fired employee is said to be “laid-off”. Unemployed people are said to be “waiting to be employed”. When discussing juvenile delinquency, a young person is not said to have committed a crime, but said to have “lost his/her way”. Price rises are said to be price “adjustments” and overprice goods are said to be “negotiable”.
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