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Taboo or Not Taboo? 99420895 鄭珮琳. How can a language be clean/filthy?  Whether the language is clean or filthy is in the ear of the listener.  A foreign.

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Presentation on theme: "Taboo or Not Taboo? 99420895 鄭珮琳. How can a language be clean/filthy?  Whether the language is clean or filthy is in the ear of the listener.  A foreign."— Presentation transcript:

1 Taboo or Not Taboo? 鄭珮琳

2 How can a language be clean/filthy?  Whether the language is clean or filthy is in the ear of the listener.  A foreign swear-word is practically inoffensive except to the person who has learned it and knows its social limits.

3 How can a language be clean/filthy? (Cont.)  I pricked my finger when sewing. (clean)  My professor is a prick. (dirty)

4 Taboo  Certain words are considered Taboo in some society.  They are not used or not in “polite company.”  The word Taboo itself is borrowed from Tongan ( 東加語 )

5 Taboo (Cont.)  When an act is taboo, reference to this act may also become taboo.  That is, first you are forbidden to do something, then you are forbidden to talk about it.

6 We are taught not to mention certain words.  Forbidden acts or words reflect the particular customs and view of the society.  In certain societies, words that have religious connotations are considered profane if used outside of formal religious ceremonies.

7 We are taught not to mention certain words. (Cont.)  Example: In the world of Harry Potter, the evil Voldemort is not to be named, but is referred to as “You-Know-Who.”

8 We are taught not to mention certain words. (Cont.)  Example: It is forbidden to “take the Lord’s name in vain,” and this prohibition also extends to the use of curses. Thus, we have “hell → heck” and “damn → darn.”

9 Some words were tatoo in America but not in England.  Example: women (designates lower or less- refined classes of female human-kind) → lady  Example: bloody (considered in the mouths of the lowest classes) → usually printed in the newspapers as ”b____y”

10 Sex and taboo words  Words relating to sex, sex organ make up a set of taboo words of many cultures.  Some languages have no native words to mean “sexual intercourse” but have to borrow from neighboring (country) people.  In this case, Two or more words or expressions can have the same linguistic meaning, with one acceptable and the others embarrassing.

11 Sex and taboo words (Cont.)  Example: In English, words borrowed from Latin sound “scientific” and therefore appear to be technical and “clean,” whereas native Anglo-Saxon counterparts are taboo.

12 Sex and taboo words (Cont.)  Anglo-Saxon Taboo Words Latinate Acceptable Words cuntvagina cockpenis prickpenis titsmammary gland shitfeces

13 Sex and taboo words (Cont.)  This fact reflects that the vocabulary used by the upper classes was superior to that used by the lower classes. (???)  There is no grammatical reason why the word “vagina” is clean whereas “cunt” is dirty, but sociolinguistic reasons.

14 Euphemisms ( 委婉、含蓄用語 )  The existence of taboo words motivates the creation of euphemisms.  A euphemism is a word or phrase that replaces a taboo word to avoid unpleasant subject.

15 Euphemisms (Cont.) Less acceptable words More acceptable words diepass on / pass away urinatewater the horse squeeze the lemon have intercourseplay cars and garages hide the sausage

16 Euphemisms (Cont.)  These euphemisms show that a word has not only a linguistic denotative meaning but also connotative meaning.  In learning a language, children learn which words are taboo words depending on the value system accepted in the family or group in which the child grows up.


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