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What are some euphemisms for cheating ?
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In my previous question I wrote in the details fill in your favorite euphemism for cheating here . Before I wrote that I searched the net a bit to find some, but I did not succeed the only one that was slightly usable was “Parking the Lovemobile in a New Garage”, but I wasn’t sure about it . English isn’t my first language (or, I hardly speak it, so maybe that is also a reason I don’t know them plus, I do not cheat . Do you have some, or one?
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Playing away from home. I would never cheat on the missus, for that would be known as, signing my own death warrant!
Working late. Lol.
having an unofficial concubine.
I have heard most often: Having a little something on the side Occasionally, I hear: Going out for some strange
Meeting the milkman
Plowing the neighbor’s field
Having an affair
how about “I owe you no explanation, woman. Now get back in the kitchen!” :P
Doing the dirt
My next door neighbor always told his wife he was going to play poker on Friday nights. Poker = Poke her.
Ah, now that you talked about your neigbor, @chyna , I remember that my ex father in law always went bird watching , my then girlfriend told me. For real, with binoculars and a bird watch book he went out :-)
My grandfather refered to it as Going Hunting and Fishing.
Getting some strange….
“Going to the dentist.” I swear, my uncle had the worst teeth ever! And it was so fortunate that his dental office had late hours…
One that became big here when the then-governor of South Carolina was having an affair with a Brazilian woman was hiking the Appalachian trail .
the French call it “le cinq á sept”...a quickie after work and before dinner.
@marinelife Hahaha…how could we forget that. We turned into a meme at work when it happened. If someone was going to do something we knew was a lie, we called it hiking the Appalachian trial.
@Blackberry We did too!
My grandmother once referred to it as “sleeping on the other side of the bed.”
Steppin off the porch.
Ending your subscription to the air – IF she finds out!
Dipping his wick in someone else’s candle wax.
Getting an extra bar of butter from the milkman.
Getting a second ring from the postman.
Taking dictation with his secretary.
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25 Common English Euphemisms
Today, you’re going to learn 25 common euphemism phrases in English. While you’re here, check out 28 Phrases to Feel Comfortable in English Conversations .
Euphemisms are words (or phrases) we can use to talk about negative stuff without sounding too negative.
We use them because we don’t want to use a particular negative word or phrase.
They make people feel better, and that means we offend people less.
So let’s look at 25 common English euphemisms.
Euphemisms for people
You know this situation. You’re talking about someone you know.
And you basically want to talk about how stupid they are. Or how fat. Or how short.
But you don’t want to be rude, right?
These will help:
- He’s big boned. — He’s fat.
- She’s horizontally challenged.* — She’s fat, too.
- He’s vertically challenged.* — He’s short.
- She’s between jobs. — She’s unemployed.
- She’s getting on. — She’s old.
- He’s not the sharpest pencil in the box. — He’s kind of stupid. Not his fault — he just is.
- He doesn’t suffer fools gladly. — He’s rude and can be pretty unkind.
- She’s on the streets. — She’s homeless.
*These phrases are a little light and funny.
Euphemisms about getting fired
These are phrases that you wouldn’t like to say, and that you’d hate to hear even more.
They all mean “You’re fired” or “You’ve lost your job. Now go away.”
- We’re going to have to let you go .
- Have you considered early retirement ? — only for older people
- I’m afraid you’ve been made redundant . — This one isn’t as bad, as it means your job doesn’t exist anymore. You’ve probably been
- replaced by a computer.
Euphemisms about WAR!
War — a big topic for an English language blog, right?
It’s a horrible and traumatic thing, and very difficult to talk about.
It’s also a deeply political thing, too.
I think those are the two main reasons we have so many euphemisms for war. People don’t like talking about the difficult reality, but also governments prefer to use “softer” words to make their decisions sound less violent.
If you read any English language newspaper and turn to an article about war, you’ll find some of these military euphemisms:
- Collateral damage – When an attack kills innocent people (or damages homes, hospitals, schools, etc.).
- Armed intervention – This simply means “military attack.”
- Extraordinary rendition – This is when an army takes someone away without going through any legal system.
- Friendly fire – This is when an army kills people on its own side, usually by accident.
Euphemisms for death
It’s always a difficult subject to talk about, so it’s no surprise that we have some euphemisms to talk about death.
Here are the most common ones. All of these mean “she’s died.”
- She’s passed on .
- She’s passed away .
- She’s met her maker .
- We’ve lost her .
- She’s been put to sleep / put down . — for describing when a pet has to be killed by the vet
Euphemisms for “bad”
It’s good to have lots of different ways of saying “bad,” right?
For example, there are some adjectives that make “bad” even more direct, like “awful,” “terrible,” “horrible,” etc.
But what if you want to make it more polite and less direct?
- It wasn’t up to scratch . — It wasn’t good enough.
- It left a lot to be desired . — It was pretty bad and unsatisfying.
- That was a questionable idea. — There are problems with this idea.
- How was the trip? It was … Meh — How was the trip? It wasn’t that good at all. Not terrible but not good.
OK. You can now use these euphemisms to sound less direct, and more polite and diplomatic.
You can also understand more of what on earth they’re talking about on the news.
So here are three sentences — can you make them less direct and more polite?
- “I’m afraid your work is not as good as it should be.”
- “Maybe they won’t fit you. You’re a bit fat.”
- “I’ve got to warn you about my cousin. He’s such a rude guy.”
Write your answers in the comments!
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43 thoughts on “ 25 Common English Euphemisms ”
This is the bee’s knees. Love the wit.
Thanks Corina! Appreciated!
#4 Don’t say “I’m dying for a cuppa” to Russians not adding “figuratively” it’ll be a complete turkey. 🙂
What about “I could kill a glass of wine.”
You can even murder one as long as it makes you stronger.
it really a good euphematic phrase
Please give the euphemistic for latecomer
As far as I can think, there are no euphemisms for latecomers.
If anyone has any, let me know! 🙂
Latecomer…..meaning someone who arrives late? If so, I had a boss that used to say good afternoon if arrived late in the mornings. With a smile of course. 🙂
I used to do that in Turkish when the school opened up late only giving me 10 minutes to do my photocopying. 🙂
We always say to someone who is late, “next time don’t forget to set your alarm.”
She has trouble with watches/time.
He is like the hind leg of a donkey (always last to arrive)
The problem with being on time is that there is rarely anyone there to appreciate it.
Too true! 😀
A bit tardy
chronologically challenged 🙂
Punctuality concern Affinity for tardiness
Exactly what I was looking for!
i think euphemism is amazing
Yeah it is that good… Makes someone good at communication and can hold the communication longer
saved my skin
He is a special child use euphemism
Hi, Gabriel, I am Laura, nice to meet you. I’m from Colombia and I am 22 years old. Now I study laws at Universidad Católica de Colombia, in Bogotá city, but I want to learn English by my own means, because I consider that is something absolutely neccesary and important for my personal and professional development. I coincidentally came to your blog and I loved it, everything is very interesting and easy to understand, thanks to contribute in our learing process. Regards!
Thank you for sharing this Awesome post!! I loved it so much and spent quite a while to read all lines thoroughly.
he is a right suck up (always flattering people everly)
Why the USA people use the most difficult words?
Don’t worry, we don’t, it’s just some specific peopke who love sounding smart do. Most people talk really normally haha
For military, “terminate with extreme prejudice” is a toned down way of saying “murder”
1. Your work was not up to scratch. 2. You are a bit big boned. 3. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
Hey, I love your website, I’m totally addicted to it! 🙂 I teach English in a primary school and I’m definitely going to use your techniques and tips in my lessons. However, there is just one little thing that bothers me (and I’m sorry for that, really!); I speak American English, not British. Not at all. I try to avoid it. Honestly, I can’t stand British English (but I LOVE you and your blog!! (: ) And I also loved these phrases! Are they 100% British? Or do Americans also use some of these? Thank you for your work and useful tips! 🙂
Ha ha. Thanks for your honesty!
I do, indeed, speak British English (or at least one of the many types of British English).
After having a quick re-read of the post (I did write it four years ago), I think these euphemisms are a bit of a mixed bag. Some of them are definitely quite British, but many of them are also universal. There are also a few that I’m not sure about.
I’d say the best thing to do would to be run them by an American if you really want to avoid British English.
Having said that, I’m not sure these terms “British English”/”American English” really apply in the modern world. The vast majority of English speakers are “non-native speakers,” meaning that the lines are getting more and more blurred.
Also, there are loads of different varieties within the British/American English umbrellas. Some British varieties contain features that some American ones do, for example.
In fact, I’m not even sure why you’re “picking a side,” so to speak. Can I ask why you avoid “British English?”
Thanks for commenting! 🙂
Very interesting! My hubby and I were talking about euphemisms when we read an article about suicide. So we decided to dig a little deeper and found this.
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Definition of euphemism
Did you know.
Euphemism comes from Greek eúphēmos , which means "uttering sounds of good omen," "fair-sounding," or " auspicious ." The first part of that root is the prefix eu- , meaning "good." The second part is phēmos , a Greek word for "speech."
How and Why We Use Euphemisms
Euphemisms can take different forms, but they all involve substituting a word or phrase considered to be less offensive than another. The substituted word might, for example, be viewed as a less coarse choice, as when dang or darn is used instead of damn or damned . Or it might replace a word viewed as insulting to a religious figure, such as the various euphemisms for God ( gad , gadzooks , gosh ) or Jesus ( gee , jeepers , jeez ). A euphemism may also consist of an indirect softening phrase that is substituted for the straightforward naming of something unpalatable. Thus, we hear of people being “let go” rather than “fired”; civilians killed in war described as “collateral damage”; or someone who has died having “kicked the bucket,” “passed away, “given up the ghost,” or “joined one’s ancestors.”
Examples of euphemism in a Sentence
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'euphemism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
borrowed from Medieval Latin euphēmismus, borrowed from Greek euphēmismós "substitution of an auspicious word for an inauspicious one," from euphēmízesthai "to use words of good omen" (from eúphēmos "uttering sounds of good omen, fair-sounding, auspicious" + -izesthai, middle voice of -izein -ize ) + -ismos -ism ; eúphēmos from eu- eu- + -phēmos, nominal derivative, with a suffixal -m-, from the base of phēmí, phánai "to say, speak" — more at ban entry 1
circa 1681, in the meaning defined above
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Cite this entry.
“Euphemism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/euphemism. Accessed 13 Nov. 2023.
Kids definition of euphemism, more from merriam-webster on euphemism.
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for euphemism
Nglish: Translation of euphemism for Spanish Speakers
Britannica English: Translation of euphemism for Arabic Speakers
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Euphemism — Definition and Examples
What is a euphemism?
A euphemism is a courteous and respectful word or phrase that replaces an offensive or impolite statement. For example, the word "basic" has become a euphemism for "unoriginal". Euphemisms help writers and speakers avoid taboo subjects, offer variety, provide characterization, and create humor.
Avoid taboo subjects: The main role of a euphemism is to avoid words and/or phrases that are considered too offensive or displeasing. They allow a writer or speaker to present the same idea using less offensive language without the disrespectful connotation.
The dog didn't die; he went to a "farm upstate."
People don't go to prison; they go to a "correctional facility."
Offer variety: Euphemisms allow writers and speakers to present the same idea with new words to avoid repetition.
Provide characterization: Euphemisms can provide insight into the personality of a character. It suggests they want to avoid discussing things that are unpleasant or insensitive. Those who do not use them are more direct and are willing to discuss ideas that others might find uncomfortable.
Create humor: Using euphemisms ironically can have a comedic effect. Their use may provide a moment of levity that undercuts the harshness or appropriateness of the word or phrase.
Politicians don't "commit crimes," they "make mistakes."
When using euphemisms, authors typically incorporate them in the following ways:
Abstract: Disguise unpleasant realities
Pass away vs. died
Litotes: Also known as an understatement, litotes diminish the intensity of something.
He's not very intelligent vs. He’s not a rocket scientist.
Modification: Changing an offensive noun to an adjective
He's dumb vs. He made a dumb decision
Slang: Slang words work as euphemisms to either increase or decrease the intensity of the actual word or phrase.
Basic vs. unoriginal
The etymology of the English word euphemism is from Latin euphēmismus and Greek euphēmismós, meaning “words of good omen.”
The antonym of euphemism is dysphemism, a derogatory word or phrase used instead of one that isn’t inherently impolite (e.g., “boondocks” instead of “rural area”).
The following word lists categorize common examples of euphemisms in American English:
Bodily Functions and Aging
Characteristics and Attributes
Authors also incorporate euphemistic language in their works, as illustrated by the following example sentences:
Animal Farm by George Orwell:
"For the time being, certainly, it had been found necessary to make a readjustment of rations."
Orwell uses readjustment instead of reduction as a euphemism.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare:
"For in that sleep of death what dreams may come / When we have shuffled off this mortal coil , / Must give us pause: there's the respect / That makes calamity of so long life."
Shakespeare uses "shuffled off this mortal coil" as a euphemism for death.
"Afterwards" by Tom Hardy:
" If I pass during some nocturnal blackness , mothy and warm, / When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn, / One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm, / But he could do little for them; and now he is gone."
Hardy uses the phrase "if I pass during some nocturnal blackness" as a euphemism for dying in his sleep.
What is a Euphemism — Definition, Examples for All Writers
T here are various literary devices that cross over from literature to everyday language. Perhaps the most commonly used literary device in everyday conversations is the euphemism. Euphemisms can change over time and change between cultures but what is a euphemism? What does euphemism mean? In this article, we’ll take a look at how this literary technique that is used in both writing and everyday language to convey meaning.
First, let’s define euphemism.
Euphemism may sound like a foreign literary term , but odds are you have used one in the last week. Cultural vernacular is rife with them and are used in common conversations. So, what does euphemism mean? Let’s take a look at the euphemism definition to find out.
What is a euphemism.
A euphemism is an appropriate expression used in the place of a phrase or words that may be found inappropriate or offensive. Euphemisms are commonly used in daily language and literature to replace language that some may find displeasing.
Euphemistic language is commonly used in literature, especially older works, as a way to convey a message without risking the chance of it being barred to censorship for crude language.
- “Passed away” instead of “died”
- “Let go” instead of “fired”
- “Make love” instead of “sex”
- “Put down” instead of “euthanized”
What is a euphemism used for.
Euphemistic language can be found throughout both in literature and in everyday language. But what is a euphemism used for? To better understand the meaning, let’s take a look at its function.
While everyone uses euphemistic language as a means to communicate something else, the reason for the substitution may differ.
1. Avoid offensive language
Specifically in past conservative time periods, euphemisms were commonly used in everyday conversations to avoid offensive or even taboo language. The most common subject that uses euphemistic language is sex.
Examples like “making love,” “the birds and the bees,” and “going all the way” were all used to discuss sexual acts without ever saying possibly offensive language. This video breaks down how euphemisms are used in everyday language for uncomfortable conversations and to avoid displeasing language.
What is a Euphemism?
2. character traits.
When a specific character in a film or in literature uses a euphemism, one can gather that the character is rather conservative or mindful of using inappropriate language. The choice to say the inoffensive version of the sentence is a direct manifestation of their characterization.
3. Establish time period
Euphemisms often change or are more or less apparent depending on a story’s time period. If a novel, film, or television show is taking place within a specific time, euphemism can be used to portray the vernacular of the time period.
This can also help establish the cultural norms of the time period’s society. For example, euphemistic language in the 1920s about sexual intercourse is far different from expressions used in the 1970s to describe the same thing.
4. Variety in language
Euphemisms are ways to use different words to say the same thing. This can allow writers to be creative and introduce variety in their writing so that actions or phrases do not become monotonous. Euphemisms can be poetic and create imagery that literal language cannot.
For example, in Othello, Shakespeare uses the term “the beast with two backs” as a euphemism for sex. This example creates both imagery and variety more than simply saying the two were having sex.
- How Writers Use Subtext to Add Meaning →
- How Metaphors Can Enhance Your Writing →
- What is an Allegory? Definition and Examples →
What is a euphemism in literature.
A euphemism is a word or phrase that is rife within everyday language and conversation. They allow us to have uncomfortable conversations without using unsettling language.
For example, a boss telling an employee they are “let go” instead of “fired” aims to soften the blow. But what about euphemism examples in literature?
In George Orwell’s 1984 , euphemistic language is used within the story to portray the propaganda of a dystopian society. In the book, “newspeak” became the official language of Oceania. It utilizes euphemisms like “joycamp” instead of “forced-labor camp” as well as “Minipax” for “Minister of War.”
The use of euphemistic language in 1984 effectively criticizes a government's attempts to mislead citizens with persuasive propaganda.
What is a Euphemism
Euphemism examples in television.
One of the reasons writers use euphemisms that we listed above was to establish a story’s time period. This is especially true when writing and creating a period piece. What is a euphemism’s role in a period piece? Let’s take a look at some television examples to better understand.
For example, the 1960s American society was culturally more conservative than it is now. In the Mad Men pilot episode, screenwriter Matthew Weiner uses euphemisms to establish this conservative culture.
We brought the Mad Men pilot script into StudioBinder’s screenwriting app to analyze this further. Take a look at how Pete Campbell creates his own expression for saying a woman has slept with a lot of men in this scene.
While even this euphemism would be seen as offensive in the 1960s, it shows how conservative and polite the language was during the time. This is an important aspect when writing a period piece.
As you can see from these examples, euphemism is more than just a way to avoid crude language. They can be used within literature and screenwriting to both establish societal norms and critique them. As a writer, consider using euphemisms as a means to reflect the world you are creating and the characters that inhabit it.
- Why Themes Are Essential to Storytelling →
- What is Foreshadowing and How It Can Help Your Film →
How writers use metaphors
Euphemisms allow writers to use specific language to say something else. Another literary device that does this is the metaphor. Metaphors can be extremely effective and communicate a complex idea or concept. In our next article, we break down what a metaphor is and how it can be used to elevate your writing.
Up Next: Metaphors explained →
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Introducing Euphemisms to Language Learners
I. introduction, ii. the purpose of euphemisms, iii. latinate roots of euphemisms, iv. short glossary of words and their euphemisms, v. lesson: understanding euphemisms (intermediate level).
Learn the word euphemism. Learn the taboo and uncomfortable subjects in English that give rise to most of our euphemisms. Appreciate euphemisms' semantic opaqueness. Identify euphemisms in newspaper articles, features, editorials, advertising, etc. Surmise, to a reasonable degree, why a euphemism is used, and what it connotes as compared to the original (often Anglo-Saxon) word it stands for.
Follow-up to Homework
For further discussion, vi. references.
- Burchfield, R. (2000). In P. Eschholz, A. Rosa, V. Clark (Eds.), Language awareness: Readings for college writers (p. 512). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
- Farb, P. (1974). Word play: What happens when people talk . New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
- Garner, B. A. (1998). A dictionary of modern American usage . New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
- Neaman, J. S., & Silver, C. G. (1983). Kind words: A thesaurus of euphemisms. New York: Facts on File, Inc.
- Rawson, H. (1981). A dictionary of euphemisms and other doubletalk . New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.
10 Historical Euphemisms for Infidelity
By adrienne crezo | nov 3, 2012.
Here are 10 historical slang terms and euphemisms for infidelity that you probably won’t see in headlines today.
1. Carrying tackle: Used primarily in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a man having an indiscreet affair was said to be carrying tackle. Tackle was also used to describe flashy or expensive clothing.
2. Groping for trout in a peculiar river: A Shakespearean joke used in Measure for Measure , where groping describes a method of fishing by feeling for them in the water with the hands; peculiar was already in use to describe a mistress, much in the same way a cat or an owl might be a witch’s peculiar.
3. Pour treasure into foreign laps: Another from Shakespeare, this time from Othello , wherein the character Emilia attributes adultery by wives to the misbehavior of their husbands: [They] “slack their duties, and pour our treasures into foreign laps.”
4. Left-handed honeymoon: In use as early as the 1920s or 30s, the saying in full is “He/She is on a left-handed honeymoon with someone else’s wife/husband.”
5. To cut/take a slice: In modern parlance, the adage goes, “It’s safe to take a slice because a cut loaf won’t miss one,” but the idea of women as neatly apportioned loaves of bread is at least 400 years old: a notable early appearance is found in The Tinker of Turvey , a collection of Canterbury tales dating from 1590.
6. Wife in watercolors: This Regency era phrase is less about describing the beauty of the woman you married as a work of art than it is about the easy solubility of water-based paint. A “wife in watercolors” was a mistress, because unlike an actual marriage, the relationship was easily dissolved. Likewise, “painting a wife in watercolor” was a polite euphemism for a man having a discreet affair.
7. Off the rez: Originally, “off the rez” or “off the reservation” was cowboy slang for a person out of his or her element or in unfamiliar territory. Later, the term was used to describe a person who had gone insane or was in extremely familiar territory with a person to whom he or she was not married.
8. War on two fronts: If love is a battlefield, adultery can only complicate (extra)marital strategy. The phrase has long been in use for actual military action, but entered American slang euphemistically after World War II and was bandied about a bit during the Lewinsky scandal.
9. Hiking the Appalachian trail: We can thank former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford for turning a legitimate test of endurance into slang for sneaking away to meet a mistress. When Sanford disappeared in 2009 for nearly a week, no one (including his wife) had any idea where he’d gone. His spokesperson reported that he wasn’t missing, only hiking the Appalachian Trail. But when Sanford reappeared, he admitted he had gone to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he was having an affair.
10. Yarding on: Beat slang gave the lexicon "backdoor" and "backyard" men and women in the 1950s (though the terms were probably around for a few decades before they adopted them), and naturally a verb form followed, as in “The scandal broke when emails revealed that General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell were yarding on their spouses with each other.”
Sources: 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811/2003; A Glossary of Shakespeare’s Sexual Language, Gordon Williams, 1997/2006; Westopedia: Language and Lore of Real America, Win Blevins, 2012; Dictionary of American Slang 4e, Barbara Ann Kipfer and Robert L. Chapman, 2010; The American Slang Dictionary, Annotated. James Maitland, 1891/2007; Straight From the Fridge, Dad. Max Decharne, 2000; Merriam-Webster’s Book of Word Histories, 1991; The Best Guide to Euphemism. Nigel Rees, 2006; Urban Dictionary: Freshest Street Slang Defined. Aaron Peckham, 2012.
What is a euphemism for cheating in class?
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What is self-sabatoge?
Self-sabotage is kinda like when people say cheating on a diet, but, cheating is usually an attempt to help yourself. So if the doctor says you should be on a diet, 'cheating' probably isn't the best idea. That's why I like to call 'cheating' on a diet, self-sabotage.
Why do you feel like your boyfriend is cheating on you?
If you think your bf is cheating on you you don't trust him. Also you may be insecure and you may not know what he is doing at all times and that bothers you. There is always the downside that he may actually be cheating on you.
What is a emotionally cheating?
Emotionally cheating is mentally & emotionally being with someone else; this includes leading your current bf/gf on or flirting.
What did the comedian george carlin say was the latest euphemism for the term previously referred to as shell shock?
Post-traumatic stress disorder.
What euphemism is used in place of the term shell shock which means to suffer from stress due to fighting in a war?
What is the best class in zenonia 4.
I dont know what the best class is best class is if you are "cheating" but the best class if you arent cheating is either the guy with 2 swords and if you want to kill faster chose the machine gun guy but the best class is the mage and the rouge
What is a euphemism for?
euphemism for helper
How has networking benefited society?
stop cheating in dmacs class
What is a euphemism for helper?
What is the euphemism for housemaid.
euphemism of ugly
What is euphemism for helper?
How do you do homework without knowing it or cheating.
You ask for help. Then you do the best you can. Homework is just practice for the learning you do in class. If you do not know what you are doing, there really is no point in trying to practice. Ask your teacher. Ask another student in the class. Definitely ask here. Cheating though is not cheating against your teacher, or the work. It is cheating you.
What are examples of cam and follower?
If your in Bunkert's Class quit Cheating again.
What rhymes with euphemism?
There are no perfect rhymes for the word euphemism.
What is Euphemism used in a sentence?
A euphemism is a figure of speech. You use a euphemism when you don't want to use the actual name or word for something.Instead of saying that she died, he used a euphemism.
What is a euphemism for the word fat?
The euphemism is corpulent.
What is a pull factor for Stillwater MN?
hey! your doing this for class! stop cheating
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Euphemism (English Language)
October 30, 2020
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Have a read of our Ultimate Guide to English Language if you haven't already.
Sometimes when using language we may want to, or need to discuss a topic that is uncomfortable to deal with directly. For these cases we often employ the technique of euphemism to make the bad things sound better. As Quentin Crisp put it, "Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne".
Semantic Fields and Situational Contexts
Euphemism is found in a wide range of semantic fields and situational contexts, but a few where they appear often include:
- In the domain of politics and political correctness
- In public-facing language, such as press conferences and interviews
- In discussions around uncomfortable topics such as death, termination of employment, and sex
- In the corporate world
So this begs the question of why people sometimes choose to employ euphemism, and what social effects it has on relationships and also society as a whole?
The Purpose of Euphemism
There are two sides to the euphemism coin, which are important to keep in mind when discussing and observing the use of euphemism. On the one hand, it can allow us to talk about uncomfortable topics more easily and without losing face, but on the other it can mask the truth or even be used to actively confuse others.
Many would argue that the primary purpose of euphemism is to maintain positive face, and it can often be very effective in doing so. Let’s consider the example of an employer navigating the social taboo topic of dismissing one of their employees. No matter how they go about broaching this topic, some of the face needs of the employee will not be met. According to a variety of online human resources sites, some of the euphemisms that employers or hiring managers are encouraged to use, include:
- "Exit strategy”
- “Career change opportunity”
- “Freeing for availability to the industry”
- “Making a team move”
These terms are widely favoured over the bluntness of something like “you’re fired”. By using such euphemisms, employers seek to put the focus onto the minor upsides of being laid off, rather than directly dealing with what will often feel like a personal attack for the employee. In this way, they try to, although not necessarily effectively, meet the face needs of both their employee and themselves in navigating this socially taboo topic.
The euphemisms that we use can also reflect and reveal our shifting social mores as the euphemisms that we use change over time. For example, if we consider the words we use surrounding the semantic domain of animal slaughter, we are seeing more and more euphemisms being employed today, as the topic becomes taboo and unpalatable. Instead of “killing” animals, today people are describing animals as being “depopulated” or “harvested”. We can even see this shift in how we describe the deaths of household pets, who are “put down”, rather than “euthanised”. Such euphemisms reflect our society’s shifting values and attitudes, namely that we now value animal life far more than we have in the past. We now wish to avoid the negative connotation surrounding the traditional lexemes of this semantic field, in order to maintain social harmony and positive face.
However, euphemism is also often used to hide or conceal the truth, and can mislead both those who hear it, and even those who use it. Clear communication is sometimes sacrificed for the sake of maintaining one’s positive face. When euphemism is used to obfuscate the truth, it is often classed as “doublespeak”, a term stemming from the neologisms “doublethink” and “newspeak” in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four . For example, local councils may describe a “pot-hole” as a “pavement deficiency” to save face in being unwilling or unable to repair roads. This term is deliberately ambiguous as to the nature of the specific damage, and has been chosen over the far clearer and more familiar term “pot-hole” in an effort to obscure the truth. According to linguist Kate Burridge, euphemisms such as these “tell us how it isn’t”.
Even something as commonplace as life-insurance policies are in reality euphemistic terms for something that really insures one’s death. But insurance agencies and carriers don’t want their product being associated with the social taboo of death, and instead they choose to use the more positively-connoted term “life” to create positive brand recognition. All sorts of euphemisms surround us constantly, and we are often so used to them being used, that we don’t even notice.
Linguist Stephen Pinker describes a “euphemism treadmill”, which is a good metaphor for the way that the connotations of euphemisms can often change over time, as they are used and over-used. The classic example of this process is in the terms used by Nazi officials in the late 1930s and '40s to describe the Holocaust. Initially, the term “Sonderbehandlung” or “special treatment” was used to refer to the summary execution of so-called “unfavourable people”. However, this term quickly became as negatively connoted as the term it was designed to replace among the German people, and so the phrase “die Endlösung der Judenfrage”, “the final solution to the Jewish Question” was formulated - a phrase which again became infamously associated with the atrocities of the Holocaust during the Nuremburg trials. In fact, we’ve observed the overwhelmingly negative connotation of this former euphemism recently in Australia, with Fraser Anning being met with widespread criticism after using this term in the senate. In this example, we can see how over time euphemisms can lose their ameliorating effect as they become more associated with that which they are trying to mask.
Whether you believe that euphemisms are a valuable and useful part of our language, or that they are ambiguous and misleading, their prevalence in our contemporary Australian society make them an important part of a discussion of the evolving semantics of Australian English and of language as a whole.
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- What Is English Language?
- VCE English Language Study Design
- What's Involved in the Exam?
- How To Study for English Language
- Metalanguage List
- Sample Essay
- Year 12 Essay Topic Categories
1. What Is English Language?
Study design stuff.
English Language is 1 of the 4 different English subjects that are offered as part of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). In this subject, you’ll explore how individuals and groups of various identities use different varieties of English, and how this ties in with reflecting their values and beliefs. English Language will provide you with a substantial understanding of the impact language has on societies, what it communicates about ourselves and the groups that we identify with, and how societies in turn can also influence language.
If you’re feeling uncertain about what exactly this subject entails, don’t worry! Let’s go through what’s involved in each unit, and what you’re expected to do in each.
2. VCE English Language Study Design
Note: The study design contains a metalanguage list for Units 1 & 2 and for Units 3 & 4. They’re pretty similar, except the Units 3 & 4 list includes several new features, such as the addition of patterning (phonological, syntactic, and semantic), as well as a significant addition to the discourse subsystem (coherence, cohesion, features of spoken discourse, and strategies of spoken discourse).
Area of Study (AoS1)
AoS1 is called ‘the nature and function of language’. You’ll learn about the functions of different types of texts, the differences between spoken and written texts, how situational and contextual factors can influence texts, and most importantly, you’ll learn about metalanguage as per the Units 1 & 2 metalanguage list.
Area of Study (AoS2)
AoS2 is called ‘language acquisition.’ Here, you’ll learn about theories various linguistics and sociologists have proposed regarding how children acquire languages. Furthermore, you’ll also cover how second languages are acquired. One of the most important skills you’ll pick up in this AoS is how to apply metalanguage in discussions and essays.
English Across Time’, will provide you with a historical context for how we have achieved the form of English that we use today. You’ll learn about the processes which led to the development of Modern English from Old English, the changes this had on all the subsystems ( learn about the syntax subsystem here ), and the various attitudes that are held towards linguistic change.
‘Englishes in contact’, you will learn about the processes which have led to the global spread of English, the intersections between culture and language, and the distinctive features of pidgins, creoles and English as a lingua franca.
‘Informal language’, will give you an understanding of the roles of informal language in the contemporary Australian context. You’ll learn about what makes texts informal, how this differs for spoken and written texts, and what social purposes can be achieved through informal language - such as maintaining or threatening face needs, building intimacy or solidarity, creating an in-group, or supporting linguistic innovation.
‘Formal language,’ will provide you with a detailed insight of what makes texts formal, distinguishing features for spoken and written texts, and what social purposes can be achieved through formal language - such as reinforcing authority, establishing expertise, clarifying, obfuscating, or maintaining and challenging positive and negative face needs.
In both of these AoS, you’ll be applying the Units 3 & 4 Metalanguage in your short answer responses and analytical commentaries. The additional metalanguage is typically taught in Term 1 of year 12, while you learn the content for Unit 3.
‘Language variation in Australian society,’ is a detailed study on how both standard and non-standard Australian English are used within contemporary society. You’ll learn about how identity is constructed through language, how varieties of English vary by culture (such as ethnolects or Australian Aboriginal English), and the attitudes that are held towards different varieties by different groups.
In ‘Individual and group identities’, you’ll look at how language varies by different factors, such as age, gender, occupation, interests, aspirations, or education, and how these factors all contribute to our identities. You’ll learn more about in-groups and out-groups, and how they can be created and maintained through language. Furthermore, you’ll learn about the relationship between social attitudes with language, and how language can be shaped by, but also influence, social attitudes and community expectations.
For more information, have a look at the study design .
3. What's Involved in the Exam?
The Year 12 Exam involves 2 hours of writing time and 15 minutes of reading time. It has three sections:
- Section A: 15 marks (It is recommended that you spend approximately 20-25 mins in this section)
- Section B: 30 marks (It is recommended that you spend approximately 40-45 mins, and write 600-700 words)
- Section C: 30 marks (It is recommended that you spend approximately 45-50 mins, and write 700-800 words)
Make sure you have a read through of the assessment criteria for each section.
Section A is 15 marks of short answer questions. You are given a text, and you’re required to respond to questions about the stylistic and discourse features used in the text, while ensuring that you’re demonstrating a detailed knowledge of metalanguage through carefully selecting relevant examples from the text.
A strong understanding of the metalanguage is really important, both in terms of knowing the meanings of each metalinguistic term, and also in knowing which category each term fits under (For example, knowing that inference is part of coherence and not cohesion). Therefore, it is important that you learn your metalanguage in terms of what each terminology means, and also in terms of which category each term fits into.
As a general guide:
- 1 mark – one idea or one example or one explanation
- 2 marks – one idea plus one or two examples with explanations
- 3 marks – two ideas plus one or two examples of each with explanations
- 4 marks – two or three ideas plus one or two examples of each with explanations
- 5 marks – three ideas plus one or two examples of each with explanations
One of the biggest mistakes students make here is not reading the questions properly. Students sometimes miss how many examples the questions specifies to identify (this information is often given as ‘identify 2 examples’ or ‘identify the purposes’ as plural), forget to check how many marks a question is, or mix up certain metalanguage terms, such as confusing sentence types with sentence structures. So, be very careful in answering these questions.
Here are some examples of short answer questions that have come up in past VCAA exams:
[Question 2, 2017 VCAA] - Identify and comment on the use of two different prosodic features. (4 marks).
Here, you would identify 2 different prosodic features (pitch, stress, volume, intonation, or tempo), and discuss what effect they have on the text, taking contextual factors into consideration. For example, stress could be used to draw emphasis, or intonation could influence the emotion conveyed.
[Question 1, 2015 VCAA] - What sentence types are used in lines 15 to 36? How do they reinforce the purposes of this text? (3 marks)
Here, you would identify the relevant sentence types (declaratives, imperatives, interrogatives, and exclamatives), and explain their role in the text. You would also want to ensure that your explanations are specific to the context of the text.
[Question 9, 2010 VCAA] - Discuss the function of two different non-fluency features between lines 70 and 96. (4 marks)
Here, you would identify two non fluency features (such as pauses, false starts, repairs, repetition) and give a 1 sentence explanation of its role or what it indicates.
[Question 1, 2012 VCAA] - Identify the register of the text. (1 mark)
This question is quite straightforward, and you could use terms such as formal, informal, predominantly formal/informal in your response.
[Question 4, 2012 VCAA] - How does the verb tense in lines 9–34 support the purpose of this section of the text? (2 marks)
Here you would identify whether the verb tense is in past, present, or future tense, and explain why it has been used in that way based on the contextual factors.
[Question 3, 2017 VCAA] - Using appropriate metalanguage, identify and explain two specific language features that reflect the speaker’s identity.(4 marks)
Here, you can pick examples from any subsystem that relate to the speaker’s identity, such as jargon, colloquialisms, semantics of certain jokes, expletives, or pejoratives.
Note: The exams prior to 2012 have 2 sets of short answer questions, because analytical commentaries weren’t a part of the exam back then. This leaves you with lots of practice questions! However, do keep in mind that the metalanguage lists differed and certain features were categorised in different ways. For example, Question 2 from the VCAA 2013 exam asks you to talk about prosodic features, however, in the examiner’s report, pauses are suggested as an option. We know that in the present study design, pauses are classified as features of spoken discourse, under the discourse subsystem, whereas prosodic features are classified under the subsystem of phonetics and phonology.
Check out How To Respond to Short Answer Questions in VCE English Language if you need more help tackling Section A of the exam.
Section B is an analytical commentary (AC) worth 30 marks. The introduction for an AC is an explanation of the contextual factors, the social purpose, and the register, of the text. In the body paragraphs (generally three), you group your examples from the text by themes, and explain their roles.
There are two main approaches for body paragraphs; the sub-system approach, and the holistic approach. In the sub-system approach, you would organise your examples so that each paragraph is addressing a specific subsystem. For example, your AC could be composed of the introduction, and then a paragraph on lexicology, one on syntax, and one on discourse. This approach is easier for when you’re starting out with ACs, but one of the issues with it is that you end up limiting yourself to just one portion of the text for the one paragraph. In the holistic approach, you would typically do a paragraph on social purpose, register, and discourse. In this approach, you are able to group examples from multiple subsystems and talk about how they work together in achieving specific roles in the texts.
Make sure you’re attempting a range of different types of texts, such as, opinion pieces, recipes, oaths, editorials, advertisements, eulogies, social media posts, public notices, television transcripts, radio transcripts, letters, speeches, legal contracts, conversations, narratives, and more.
For more information, have a look at this video:
Section C is an essay worth 30 marks. There are a range of topics that can potentially come up in the exam, and it is really important that you practice writing a variety of essays.
In essays, it is really important to ensure that you set out a clear contention in your introduction. This will basically tell the assessor what point you’re making in your essay, and it’ll also help you remember which direction to take your essay. After your contention, you need to signpost your ideas. This means that you need to summarise what 3 points you are stating in your body paragraphs.
Here’s an exercise which is really helpful in refining introductions - When you’re writing your contention, write “In this essay, I will argue that [Insert contention]. I will do this by stating the following points [Insert signposting].” When you’re happy with your introduction, you can remove the underlined parts. This will help you really understand how the roles for contentions and signposting differ. You’ll also thoroughly understand what position you’re taking in the essay.
The body paragraphs follow TEEL structure. You begin with your topic sentence, state your evidence, explain it, and then link it back to your contention. You have three options for the type of evidence that you’ll use (stimulus material, contemporary examples, and linguist quotes), and it's important to use a combination of them. According to the exam rubric, you have to be using at least 1 piece of stimulus material. Contemporary examples should ideally be from the current year and the previous. Linguist quotes don’t have time restrictions but it’s a good idea to try and find recent ones.
One of the most important things in body paragraphs is to make sure that you’re able to link your example back to your contention. If you’re unable to do this, it means that your examples aren't relevant to the points that you’re trying to make.
In your conclusion, you need to ensure that you don’t introduce any new examples or points. The role of the conclusion is to summarise and reinforce your points and your overall contention.
If you would like further clarification, have a look at this post on English Language Essays.
4. How To Study for English Language
Time management and organisation.
Having a study timetable will make studying much less stressful than it needs to be. In your timetable, make sure you are allocating enough time for all of your subjects, as well as time for rest, extra-curricular activities, work, and socialising. A realistic time-table will also mean that you’re less likely to waste time trying to decide which subjects to study for. For example, every Sunday, you could spend 15 minutes planning out your week based on which assessments you have, and which subjects you would like to give time to. This becomes especially useful in SWOTVAC, where you’ll be responsible for ensuring you’re spending enough time on each subject whilst also balancing everything else outside of school.
Here are some extra resources to help you with time management:
SWOTVAC: Planning Your Life
10 Hacks For Time Management
How to survive VCE - motivation and approach
Consistently revising metalanguage is one of the most important study methods for English Language.
The basics of metalanguage are covered in Unit 1. Make sure you keep a clear set of notes for this content so that you’re able to look back on it to revise throughout the year. Before the year 12 year begins, you want to make sure that everything in the year 11 metalanguage list makes sense to you. Spending the summer holidays before year 12 begins in reinforcing the basics will help you throughout year 12, as you’ll be able to pick up on the new metalanguage much faster. One of the first things you'll cover is coherence and cohesion, so if you would like to get a head start, have a look at this post.
Throughout year 12, consistently revising metalanguage will be your responsibility. It is likely that you’ll be spending a greater proportion of class time in learning content, and writing short answer responses, analytical commentaries, or essays. Therefore, it’s really important to figure out a way that works best for you in being able to frequently revise metalanguage. Flashcards are pretty useful for revision, as well as making mind maps so that you’re able to visualise how everything is set out in the study design.
One issue students run into is that they’re able to define and give examples for metalanguage terms, however, they are unable to understand how it fits in in terms of the categories under each subsystem. For example, a student is able to remember what a metaphor is, but unable to recall that it fits under semantic patterning. Similarly, a student may know what a pause is, but not know if it’s part of prosodic features or discourse features. It’s important to know what all the categories are, because the short answer questions usually ask for you to identify features under a particular category. Therefore, spending time on just revising the definitions alone isn’t sufficient in learning metalanguage. You also need to be able to ensure that you can recall which category each term fits under.
Reading the News
For the essay, you’re required to use contemporary media examples as evidence (alongside stimulus material and linguist quotes). It’s really important for you to begin this process early so that you’re able to start using examples in essays as early as possible. For tips on how to find, analyse and store your examples, see our post on Building Essay Evidence Banks for English Language .
Having an awareness of Australia’s historical, political, and social context, will provide you with a more comprehensive perspective of the contemporary examples. So, if you don’t already do this, try to develop a habit of reading the news (The Conversation or The Guardian are a good place to start). Television programs like Q and A, The Drum, and Media Watch, will help you understand the Australian context, and often these programs will also discuss the roles of language, which directly links with what you're looking for as essay examples. It’s especially important to start early, and to build these skills over time, so that you are able to develop a holistic foundation.
Extra Practice Pieces and Seeking Feedback
Doing extra practice pieces is a really effective way to develop and refine your analytical skills. Make sure you receive feedback for all your work from your teacher or tutor, as it’s the only way you'll know if you’re going in the right direction.
If you’re short on time, even writing up AC or essay plans, or just doing 1 paragraph, is an effective way to revise.
Learning Quotes and Examples
Memorising several pages full of linguist quotes and contemporary examples may seem daunting at first, but once you begin using them in essays, they’ll become much easier to remember. Right from the beginning of yr12, make sure you set up a document to compile your linguist quotes and examples into subheadings. For example subheadings such as ‘cultural identity,’ ‘jargon,’ ‘hate speech,’ ‘free speech,’ or ‘Australian values’ will make it easier for you to navigate your notes when you're planning your essays.
If you start early, you’ll be able to remember everything bit by bit as you progress through the year, which is definitely easier than trying to remember the evidence the night before the assessment. Additionally, you’ll be ready with quotes and examples as soon as you begin essays in class, so you’ll be able to use your examples earlier, hence learn them earlier, and therefore be able to memorise your quotes and examples in advance. If you’re in year 12 and you’re nearing the end of the year and still struggling to memorise your examples and quotes, try using flashcards to remember your evidence. Make sure you’re doing a range of essays on different topics so that you’re able to apply and analyse your evidence.
Learning From Your Mistakes
It can be pretty disheartening to make the same mistakes repeatedly and continue to lose marks. So, compiling the mistakes that you make throughout the year in a separate notebook or document is a fantastic way to keep track of the key things you need to remember. You’ll also be less likely to repeat those mistakes.
Studying in groups for English Language is a highly effective way to refine your understanding of the content, and see different perspectives in the way certain ideas can be applied. Revising metalanguage and testing your friends on their knowledge can be a light and engaging way to ensure you and your friends are on the right track. Sharing the ways you and your group have approached a specific AC is also an effective way to learn about different approaches. Discussing essay topics is a useful way in refining your arguments, as you’ll be exposed to different opinions and be able to work on ensuring that your arguments are relevant and strong.
See How To Extend Yourself in VCE English Language for more tips!
5. Metalanguage List
Please refer to pages 9-10 for the Year 11 list, and 17-18 for the Year 12 list !
6. Sample Essay
Language is fundamental to identity and consequently we draw on our linguistic repertoire to project different aspects of our identity according to context. Discuss this statement in the contemporary Australian context with reference to at least two subsystems in your response.
(This essay topic relates to Unit 4 - AoS1, ‘Language variation in Australian society.’)
Language plays a pivotal role in establishing and communicating various facets of identity. As such, individuals can alter their linguistic repertoire to establish in-group membership. Teenspeak is an effective mechanism in expressing teenage identity, but can also be used by the older generation to appeal to young people. Code switching between ethnolects and standard Australian English further illustrates how individuals can manipulate their linguistic choices to suit their environment, whilst simultaneously reflecting ethnic identity . Furthermore, jargon plays a critical role in establishing professional identity and signifying expertise or authority. Consequently, linguistic choices are capable of expressing diverse and multifaceted identities.
Teenspeak is capable of expressing identity and establishing in group membership amongst teenages, however it can also be used by those in the out-group to appeal to teenagers. Professor Pam Peters asserts that “Teenagers use language as a kind of identity badge that has the effect of excluding adults." Consequently, teenagers are able to establish exclusivity and in-group membership. Bakery owner Morgan Hipworth, who largely has a teenage following and is a teenager himself, employs teenspeak in a video recipe, where he responds to the question ‘Can you make a 10 layer cheese toastie?’ with ‘Bet, let’s go.’ Through using the teenspeak term ‘bet,’ Hipworth is able to relate and connect with his young audience while further asserting his identity as a teenager. This demonstrates how teenspeak can be effective in both establishing in-group membership, and expressing identity. Similarly, Youtuber Ashley Mescia’s extensive use of teenspeak initialisms in Instagram captions, such as ‘ootd’ for ‘outfit of the day,’ ‘grwm’ for ‘get ready with me,’ and ‘ngl’ for ‘not gonna lie,’ allows her to connect with her predominantly teenage following, thus allowing her to establish solidarity and in-group membership. This further indicates that teenspeak is an effective mechanism in expressing identity and building in-group membership. In contrast, teenspeak can also be used by older people in an effort to appeal to teenages. For example, in 2019, ABC’s Q and A host Tony Jones ended a promotional video for an opportunity for high-school students to appear on the panel with ‘It’s gonna be lit fam.’ This was done in an effort to appeal to younger people by exploiting the notion that it is often seen as cringeworthy when older people use teenspeak. Linguist Kate Burridge asserts that “older people using contemporary teen slang often sounds insincere and phoney,” and Jones was aware of this, however his purpose was to appeal to this to be able to further promote the video. Therefore, teenspeak is effective in both establishing in-group membership and expressing identity, and also appealing to the in-group and a member of the out-group.
7. Year 12 Essay Topic Categories
1: australian english.
- Australian English differs from other national varieties – this theme looks at what makes Australian English unique and the factors that have contributed to its development over time. You can learn more by checking out our blog post on Australian Cultural Values
- What makes this variety unique as a national variety
- Broad, General, Cultivated accents
- Aboriginal English
- Attitudes towards Australian language varieties
- Standard Australian English and its prestige value
- Non-standard varieties operating in Australia
- Regional variation within Australia
- The role of language in constructing national identity
- Face needs (read blog)
2: Individual and Group Identity
- Social and personal variation (age, gender, occupation, interests, education, background, aspiration)
- Individual identity and group membership
- Standard and non-standard English and prestige varieties
- In-groups and exclusion
- Social attitudes to non-standard accents and dialects
- Relationships between speaker/writer and interlocutors/audience
- Physical setting, situational and cultural contexts
- Subject matter/topic/domain/field
- Mode (spoken, written, electronic)
- Purpose/function of the interaction
- Social attitudes and beliefs of participants
4: Social Purpose of Language
- Inclusion and exclusion; in-groups and out-groups; social distance and intimacy
- How language can be used to uphold or threaten positive or negative face needs (read blog)
- Prestige forms of language
- Political correctness (read blog)
- Discrimination and hatespeech
- Euphemism and dysphemism (watch video)
- Taboo, pejoratives, and swearing
- Jargon, and how language establishes expertise
- Slang and colloquialisms
- Manipulation of language (obfuscation, doublespeak, gobbledegook)
- Politeness strategies and social harmony
- Language in the public domain; public language
- Linguistic innovation
- How language represents or shapes social and cultural, values, beliefs, attitudes
- How language can express identity
- Other functions of language, such as recording, clarifying, entertaining, promoting, persuading, commemorating, celebrating, instructing, informing
5: Attitudes to the Varieties
6: Language Change
Although language change features more heavily in Units 1 & 2, it is still important to be aware of how language is changing in everyday lives to reflect social needs, attitudes and values. Consider the following:
- Australian English and its development and evolution over time
- Taboo, swearing and dysphemism and the role of changing social values
- Political correctness , non-discriminatory language and changing social values
- Linguistic innovation and informal language
- Technological advances and their impact on language - this includes emojis and text speak
- Global contact and other social changes and their impact on contemporary Australian English
- Migrant ethnolects and Aboriginal English
Let’s talk about emoji’s. There is a wide debate about whether or not these small icons we know as emoticon’s are the birth of a whole new language. What once started off as a :) at the end of an email has rapidly grown into a vast array of icons which serve multiple purposes and convey various meanings. I would not call emoji’s a new language for it lacks grammar; the very foundation which kneads a language together. Most often, emoji’s are used in conjunction with words on online platforms to enhance communication. The laughter emoji or smiling emoji is frequently used to close social distance or convey a sense of playfulness where a message may be perceived to be hostile. They can also be used to save face and reduce personal embarrassment. Frankly, emoji’s can be used to express a range of emotions and conversational tones which are difficult to achieve with words alone. In this way, they cater for the inability to use intonation and paralinguistic features such as hand gestures, facial expressions within written speech.
As emoji’s become a more prevalent part of online communication, they have begun to carry their own connotations. The eggplant and water-drop emoji’s are classic examples of this within young adolescents. However, even within smaller social groups, emoji’s can take on secondary meanings. (You probably have emoji’s within your friendship group which have connotations or act as inside jokes).
In this way, emoji’s are not replacing our language, but rather, they are an addition to comprehension of written language.
While emoji’s don’t have a complex syntactical system, they are loosely governed by grammatical rules. While this does not constitute emoji’s as a new language, one can still communicate meaning by stringing emoticons through semantic fields. Content words can be replaced with emoticons, however the relationship between emoticons must be inferred or expressed through functional words.
Hence, there can be communication difficulties when the relationship of an emoji to context is not effectively implied or explained. Julie Bishop’s use of the red faced emoji to describe Vladimir Putin on Twitter is a classic example of this notion. This emoji used on its own caused confusion as to what Julie Bishop thought of Putin, whether he was an angry man or whether she disapproved of him. Due to limited context and no words to back up Bishop’s opinion, there was controversy around her response.
Emoji’s are an addition to the written mode of language, catering for paralinguistic features which cannot be expressed through words. However, due to the lack of complex grammar binding emoji’s they cannot become a new language.
From year 7-10 the traditional essays we have written have had an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. In these essays we write about characters, plot points and themes. Hence, it is understandable that upon entering English Language in year 11 or 12, it can be difficult to grasp a hold on how to write an essay without characters, plots or themes. To be precise, the requirement in an English Language essay is to ‘use key linguistic concepts and metalanguage appropriately to discuss/analyse/investigate…in an objective and systematic way” (English Language Study Design) .
What does this mean?
Essentially, in section C of the exam, you are required to present a discussion of a given idea. The word ‘discussion’ is defined as ‘a conversation or debate about a specific topic.’ In this sense, your essay is effectively a written conversation which needs to display an understanding of both sides of the topic.
In saying that, it is still important to form a contention, such as ‘indeed non-standard varieties are more acceptable in speaking than in writing in the Australian context’ however in arguing this contention, you must to explore both sides to show the examiner your understanding of language in Australian society.
The overarching idea of the essay is presented to you in the form of a prompt. For example, in the 2016 VCAA exam, a possible essay prompt given was: “In Australia today, variations from the standard tends to be more acceptable in speaking than in writing.”
In this prompt, the idea to be discussed is standard vs. non-standard Australian English. The main idea or topic forms an umbrella under which the essay is formed. This is the foundation of your essay. Each main argument will relate to this topic. In this example, standard vs non-standard Australian English is a topic from which an array of sub-topics can be extracted, the choice of which is to your discretion.
The sub-topics you choose to delve into will depend on your preferences and strengths. You may choose to discuss online-speak, ethnolects or Australian slang in relation to non-standard English, or legal and political jargon in relation to standard English.
Regardless of the choice of sub-topic, each body paragraph must explicitly link to three things; the prompt, the topic sentence and the contention. This is the criteria for your discussion. Ensuring clear links to these three will assure the examiner that you have confidence in the material you are discussing.
Your body paragraphs should be used to show the examiner how the ideas you have chosen to talk about relate to the prompt provided. Here it is necessary to use a combination of contemporary media examples, personal examples and linguist quotes as a means to prove the link between your chosen paragraph idea, your contention and the prompt. Try to find the most relevant examples which clearly demonstrate your line of thinking to the examiner. You don’t want to give them a reason to question the arguments you choose to present.
It is also important to be wary of this so that your essay flows in an orderly, sequential manner. Each idea presented within a paragraph and across the essay itself should follow a pathway, one leading into another. Use the ending of each body paragraph to come back to your essay prompt and reiterate your contention. This ensures you stay on topic and the examiner can clearly visualize your understanding of your topic.
In the end, your job in your essay is to present a discussion of a given prompt; an understanding of both sides. Use examples and explanations to show your examiner that you comprehend how the prompt can be debated.
- Writing the very first sentence of your essay can be difficult. Sometimes, to get yourself into the flow of writing, it can be helpful to integrate a linguistic quote into your first sentence. This also helps solidify your contention. For example:
- “One’s idiolect, particularly lexical choices and accent can be strongly indicative of their unique identity and the social groups to which they belong; it is the most natural badge of symbol of public and private identity (David Crystal)”
- Your topic sentence for each paragraph should contain a link to the essay prompt, to the topic of your paragraph and to your contention. A link to all three elements should be identifiable. Below is an example of a topic sentence for the given essay prompt. “The language we use is the best indicator of who we are, individually, socially and culturally. Discuss.”
- Ethnolects are a quintessential indicator of cultural identity as they are strongly identifiable by their unique phonological characteristics.
- This topic sentence shows a clear identification of the topic of the paragraph (ethnolects), a connection with the prompt, (cultural belonging) and a contention, (ethnolects are indeed indicative of cultural identity)
- Rather than introducing linguist quotes with expressions such as “in the words of…” or “as said by…” using linguist quotes discretely where they are integrated as part of the sentence will improve the flow of your essay. Consider this example.
- “The use of the interjectory ‘reh’ expresses the cultural identity individuals associate themselves with and is part of the language they use as ‘a means to an end of understanding who [they] are and what society is like (David Crystal).”
- Not all your contemporary essay examples need to come from news articles or social media. Students can often get caught up doing aimless research trying to find examples through research which really isn’t all that necessary. You should try to find examples of language use in every-day life. Perhaps consider other school subjects you study and the jargon you used within these subjects. You can quite easily discuss this use of language in your essays. Here is an example of a student using the metalanguage from VCE Accounting as an example for their essay.
- Jargon and taboo language are often used to express social identity as they are demonstrative of social groups one wishes to belong to. Jargon terms such as, ‘equity,’ ‘profit margin’, ‘cash flow statement,’ ‘debt ratio’ and ‘accrued’ belong to the financial and accounting semantic field. Their use suggests the individual is knowledgeable in business and finance and further suggests they are likely to be working in the business sector. The use of jargon in one’s vernacular can therefore provide hints of the individual’s social identity and is significant to their individual identity.
Link to David Crystal interviews to pick out quotes and ideas for your essays:
Link to Kate Burridge on TED Talk talking about Euphemisms; a good source for examples of euphemisms and how they are used in society. This can be used as foundation for a paragraph in your essays:
A focal point of the English Language Study Design, specifically Unit 4 Area of Study 1, is the construction of the Australian identity through language. In order to understand how language is used to reflect the Australian identity, it is important to first understand what values or standards of behaviour an Australian identity is comprised of.
When it comes to constructing essays, it is important to find contemporary examples from Australian media and link them to Australian cultural values. These examples must be explained using subsystems to display their linguistic relevance.
Australian cultural values are influenced by Australia’s history. Convict settlement, the influence of the British monarchy, an influx of new migrants and globalization of language have all influenced the cultural values Australian’s hold today. These events in history have enabled Australians to develop values by which they hold themselves, including egalitarianism, mateship, antiauthoritarianism and larrikinism.
The most significant value is that of egalitarianism. This is the doctrine that all people are equal and deserving of equal rights and opportunities. Class distinctions are far less significant in Australian society compared to the United Kingdom where social circles have been constructed around rigid hierarchies. In contrast, Australians of lower socio-economic standing typically do not see themselves as being less equal than privileged Australians.
This notion is reflected in the language used in Australian society. Addressing individuals as ‘mate’ and using colloquialisms such as ‘pollies’ to refer to politicians demonstrates that Australians value one another on an equal ground, irrespective of socio-economics or class.
This value extends into Australia’s sense of multiculturalism. Australia houses citizens with diverse ethnic backgrounds and prides itself on this cultural diversity. Many ethnolects have established themselves within Australian culture overtime and spread across society. These ethnolects are also finding their way onto platforms such as television to reflect present Australian society. Comedians such as Nazeem Hussain or the Channel Nine show, ‘Here come the Habibs’ use phonological, lexical, syntactical and semantic features of their respective ethnolects in a comedic manner to portray cultural diversity in a public space and celebrate the Australian value of multiculturalism.
Ethnolect speakers express their multicultural identity by molding Australian English along with their ethnic language to create their unique ethnolect. This is particularly evident with Greek and Lebanon English speakers who adopt Australian colloquialisms but retain their ethnic accent. They also often insert an interjectory such as ‘reh’ into everyday discourse as a way of promoting solidarity with others within the ethnic society.
The Australian value of anti-authoritarianism is largely reflected through the lexical choices of individuals. This value is derived from the Australian notion of egalitarianism. Australians have a far greater tendency to use expletives than those from other English speaking countries. The relaxed manner in which the Australian society perceives language use is indicative of their disregard for social hierarchies and authority figures.
The ease with which comedic remarks can be made about influential figures and politicians in the Australian media, indicates this very idea. The SBS series, The Feed recently released a facebook video “How Politicians Speak” mocking politicians by imitating political language in everyday conversations, using excessive hedging and obfuscation and a highly formal register. This Facebook video can be further explained using the subsystem of semantics. The meaning of the video is greater than the literal words being spoken by the actors. There is cultural context required to understand the humorous intent of the video. Through this cultural context, the video is able to reach out to its audience and express this anti- authoritarian way of thinking.
The tendency to ridicule politicians and authoritative figures can be explained by a phenomenon known as ‘tall-poppy syndrome’ which describes the tendency to degrade, attack or cut down individuals because they have risen in the social hierarchy. As a country which deeply values humility and embodies the ‘battler’ persona, Australians automatically become critical when those around them climb the social ladder. Snide comments and banter are tools used to remind those rising through the ranks that they are not better than anyone else. Furthermore, the tall-poppy syndrome is an explanation for why Australians consistently ridicule and mock their politicians. Comedian, Tim Minchin recently gave a speech to a graduating class at the University of Western Australia. In this speech, he used crude language and blunt remarks to give advice to the students while simultaneously deflating their sense of self with phrases such as, ‘opinions are like assholes, in that everyone has one’. Embossed within this simile is the concept of humility and egalitarianism that depict the tall-poppy syndrome.
Most examples of Australian language will ultimately tie back to these values. This includes the general Australian accent, Australian colloquialisms, phonological features of Australian English such as assimilation and the use of high rising terminal. The features of this language are linked to the values this language is used to express.
This link is particularly evident in political speeches, debates and comedic material. In relation to essay writing, there are a few steps to be conscious of when showing these links. Try to understand your examples using subsystems and which subsystems are relevant for the given example. Is the language-use significant on a phonological level, morphological level, lexical level, syntactic level or semantic level?
Throughout the year, you will be required to research and collect such contemporary examples which reflect Australian values. In your essay, you are required to demonstrate the significance of your example, use metalanguage to explain the example and then link this example to the values it reflects in Australian society and finally explain what this means for the essay prompt. Following this sequence of steps will ensure that you are able to discuss Australian Identity and Language in a holistic manner.
Link to “How Politicians Speak” Facebook video:
Link To clippings of Nazeem Hussain’s SBS show “Legally Brown” which turns Political Incorrectness on its head:
Link to Kate Burridge interview on Studio 10 explaining the trend towards the General Australian Accent:
Language has many uses which go beyond simple communication. Language can be used to entertain, to convey abstract ideas and to mold one’s perspective. A strong understanding of linguistic features, of words and their connotations can allow one to manipulate their language in order to convey certain ideas and thoughts. This brings us to the topic of face needs. One’s face need is the sense of social value that is experienced during social interactions. There are two types of face needs; positive face needs and negative face needs. Positive face refers to the need to feel accepted and liked by others while negative face describes the will to do what one wants to do with freedom and independence.
In daily conversations and in media, language is used to either appeal to face needs or to avoid meeting face needs. Basic politeness markers are frequently used to appeal to face needs, often subconsciously. Imagine a teacher asks you to pass them the pencil they just dropped. Most likely, they will ask something along the lines of, “are you able to pass me that pencil please?” The teacher’s relationship with you is that of an authoritative nature. Therefore, when asked to pick up the pen, you will almost certainly oblige unless there is a compelling reason not to. While the teacher has technically posed a request or a question, it is a in fact a command in disguise. The teacher has an expectation that you will pick up the pen, however, by framing this command as a question, it appears as though you are being given a choice. This appeals to your negative face needs as you are not being imposed upon to pick up the pen, but are given a choice should you wish to “pick it up”. In situations where interlocutors do not have a very close social distance, linguistic features such are politeness markers, rising intonation and interrogative sentences are used to appeal to negative face needs. If this same situation occurred with a friend, they might say something along the lines of ‘oi, chuck us that pen.’ This is a blatant disregard for negative face needs, but due to the close social distance between you and your close friend, appealing to negative face needs for such small things is unnecessary.
Appealing to negative face is most commonly observed in interactions with strangers or with those who do not have a strongly established relationship. However, appeals to negative face needs can also be observed with close individuals, particularly used to further the relationship by extending its boundary. For example, when asking a big favour from a relatively new friend one will most likely use methods to appeal to negative face needs, using phrases such as, ‘do you mind if,’ ‘would it be possible if,’ ‘could I please ask you a huge favour’. Such phrases do not impose of the individual, allowing them to “choose” whether or not to oblige. Appealing to the negative face demonstrates that one recognizes the other’s freedom and wish to do as they wish.
Appealing to positive face needs occurs through slightly different linguistic and paralinguistic techniques. Compliments, minimal response, eye contact, politeness markers and the use of interrogatives are all ways in which one can appeal to another’s positive face needs. These techniques are very often employed in radio and television interviews. It is the duty of the host to make their guest feel welcome and wanted on the show. Television hosts such as Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen often introduce their celebrity guests by mentioning their achievements, thus making them feel special. They frequently employ interrogatives to display avid interest in their guests. Furthermore, back-channeling and vocal effects such as laughter allow the guests to feel that their presence is welcome and appreciated. Think of this from the perspective host and their social purpose. They want to make their guests feel appreciated to promote their viewership and build solidarity with the guests so they may return on the show.
This is interview is an example of positive face needs where interviewer Rajeev Masand compliments Stanger Things actors Milly Bobby Brown and Noah Schnapp at the beginning of the interview for their show.
Tom Holland on Ellen:
In this example both Tom Holland and Ellen meet one another’s positive face needs. Politically correct language and euphemisms are also another example of appeals to positive face needs. Calling people ‘differently abled’ is done in attempt to avoid discrimination and allow individuals of different abilities to feel equally accepted and welcome. However, this does not always come across as intended. Often politically correct labels are not embraced by the given community as they feel that such labels further alienate them from society. Politically correct labels can act as reminders to such groups that they are considered minority or, they may feel that these labels are a feeble attempt to push aside previous, conflicting history. This is important to note as it demonstrates that appealing to face needs can sometimes be a hit or miss. In everyday conversation, people use cues in attempt to understand the individual they are conversing with and hence alter their language accordingly. They will use these cues to understand how to use language to appeal to the face needs of the other individual. In a context with school friends, there is likely to be less use of politeness markers and politically correct language as the pre-established relationship means there is a mutual understanding the one does not wish to offend. In contrast, the use of language is likely to be very different in transactional conversations, interviews and conversations with an authoritative relationship.
Techniques used to appeal to face needs always come back to the social purpose of the interlocutors and the contextual factors. By understanding the link between these elements, you can form a holistic analysis of face needs. Therefore, when writing about face needs in your exam and sacs, it is vital to be considerate of the context as this impacts how face needs are approached.
Here are some other examples of celebrity interviews where there is evidence of appeals to positive face needs. Watch them carefully and you’ll notice the specific linguistic features used in these interviews to build solidarity with the guests and create engagement with the show. The hosts compliment their guests and frequently employ minimal response to allow the conversation to progress smoothly. There are minimal overlaps as the hosts are cautious not to talk over their guests. You will notice that in certain interviews, when the host and guest are known to one another, appeals to face needs are not adhered, allowing them to strengthen their bond and further audience engagement.
Malala Yousafzai on Ellen:
Eddie Redmayne interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:
Understanding the Syntax Subsystem for English Language
One of the most common areas of difficulty and confusion in English Language is the syntax subsystem , so you are not alone if you find this difficult. You will already have an intuitive understanding of how syntax in English works (you speak the language after all), but being able to effectively analyse and parse sentences and utterances can be tricky. It is important that you understand what the following word classes (aka parts of speech ) are, and what their role is in a sentence, you may need to revise them from Unit 1/2.
There are innumerable online and physical resources, such as Sara Thorne’s fantastic Mastering Advanced English Language , which you can look at to revise these word classes. These are the fundamental building blocks that we have at our disposal when building up a sentence and are vital for understanding syntax. Syntax is how we arrange these building blocks into phrases , which we combine to form clauses , which in turn create sentences .
What Is a Phrase?
Phrases are words or groups of words that function together in a clause . Often we class phrases in terms of what role they are playing: we might have a noun phrase, a verb phrase, or an adverbial phrase, for example. Look at the example below to get a feel for what is meant by a phrase.
Authorised Officers are here to help keep your public transport running smoothly and make sure everyone is paying their way.
The main phrases are:
- 'Authorised Officers', 'your public transport', 'everyone', 'their way' (noun phrases)
- 'are', 'to help keep…running', 'make sure', 'is paying' (verb phrases)
- 'here’, 'smoothly' (adverbial phrases)
- ’and’ (coordination conjunction)
What Is a Clause?
Clauses can be entire sentences or be one of several parts of a sentence. At a minimum, standard clauses must contain a subject and a verb , but usually have other components too. To help us understand what makes up a clause, it is important to re-familiarise yourself with the five clause elements :
Clauses must contain a verb, or else we class them as fragments . The following is a clause:
They watched the sunset together.
But this is a fragment :
What a sunset!
Note that the clause above contains a subject (They) , verb (watched) , object (the sunset) and adverbial (together), whereas it is not entirely clear how to classify the elements of the fragment, because there is no verb telling us how the words relate to each other.
There are two types of clauses we need to be concerned about: independent (main) clauses and dependent (subordinate) clauses. An independent clause can stand by itself as a simple sentence, whereas a dependent clause sits inside another clause and usually adds extra or supporting information.
Now for one of the key skills that is assessed in short answer questions and analytical commentaries : understanding how we combine clauses to create different structures.
Simple Sentences & Utterances
The first sentence structure is the simple sentence , which contains only one clause . Often these are seen as “short” sentences, but this is not always the case. For instance below is an example of a simple sentence:
All the school children, their families and their teachers were at the carnival for a day of fun and competition.
Compound Sentences & Utterances
Compound sentences consist of at least two independent clauses (ones that have a subject, a verb and form a complete idea on their own), joined by a comma, semicolon or a coordinating conjunction . Take for example the following compound sentence comprised of three clauses:
She swam and she surfed, but her thoughts inevitably returned to the dangers of the sea.
Complex Sentences & Utterances
Complex sentences, on the other hand, contain one independent or “main” clause, as well as one or several subordinate clauses . To identify a subordinate clause, you need to think about whether the clause you have identified stands as a complete thought, or whether it relies on the rest of the sentence to make sense. An example is included below, where only the main clause is bolded.
Now, if you turn to your right, you’ll see the gallery , which was constructed in 1968.
Compound-Complex Sentences & Utterances
Compound-complex sentences, exactly as one would expect, are a combination of several independent and subordinate clauses , to form what is most often quite a long sentence . If you know how to identify compound and complex sentences, this one should not pose much difficulty. Here is an example, where only the dependent clause is bolded.
Now it wouldn’t matter how fast he ran, he would never make it there in time, nor would he have anyone to blame but himself.
Give me a ring if you’re coming , or tell Max on his way home from work.
Sentence Fragments (Minor Sentences)
It may occur to you that not every sentence or bit of language that you ever come across fits neatly into one of the above categories, especially if there is not any identifiable independent clause. These we class as sentence fragments , and they are often found in informal spontaneous discourses .
Too easy mate, good on ya, etc.
Like any skill in English Language, getting good at syntax takes practice. To build your confidence, try parsing any of the texts you come across in school, or even texts you see in a magazine or newspaper. Check with a teacher, friend or tutor to see if you got it right, and where you might still need a little bit of work. And, come back to this blog post anytime you need a refresher!
Be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to English Language for an overview of the study design, what’s involved in the exam, how to study for the subject and more!
For an overview of English Language, the study design, what’s involved in the exam and more, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to English Language .
There are several strategies you can use to your advantage to extend yourself in VCE English Language.
Make Finding Examples a Habit
One simple way to expose yourself to more examples is to follow news pages on social media so that you can see regular updates about current affairs. Have a read through of point 7: Year 12 Essay Topic Categories in our Ultimate Guide to English Language so that you can understand what types of examples you should be keeping an eye out for.
Right from the start of the school year, make sure you set up a system to keep track of your examples. You could do this by setting up a document with headings (such as ‘free speech’, ‘egalitarianism’, ‘ political correctness ’, ‘double-speak’, ‘ethnolects’ and ‘ Australian identity ’) and adding examples to this document throughout the year as you find them. For more information about the potential headings you could use, have a look at the dot points in the VCE English Language Study Design from page 17 onwards.
I’d also highly recommend checking out Building Essay Evidence Banks for English Language as it teaches you a great table method for storing and analysing your examples.
The advantage of creating an example/evidence bank of some sort is that if you start looking for examples right at the start of the year, you’ll have more time to analyse and memorise them. Additionally, you’ll also be able to use them far earlier in your essays, which means that the quotes and examples you select will become much easier to remember for the final exam.
Have a Basic Understanding of Australian History, Politics and Social Issues
Having a basic understanding of Australian history, politics and social issues is highly beneficial for enhancing your analytical skills for English Language. This is essential in developing strong contentions for your essays. Some key issues that would be worth having some background information on include the following:
Australia’s colonial history and treatment of Indigenous communities, racism, and the language surrounding these matters.
Look into the following:
- How does language reflect or perpetuate prejudice?
- How does hate speech affect social harmony?
- How can language be used to establish in-group solidarity?
Sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia.
- How can bias and prejudice be conveyed through language?
- What are some examples of implicit and explicit bias?
- What role does political correctness play in this context?
- Does political correctness create benefits or does it restrict societies?
Environmental issues, and the way this intersects with politics.
- How can euphemisms , doublespeak, and bureaucratic language be used to obfuscate or mitigate blame?
Immigration and refugee policy related discourse.
- What are the origins of pejoratives such as ‘boat people’ and ‘queue jumper’ that are frequently used against refugees?
- How does this influence the values or beliefs of a society?
Business and economic issues, labour exploitation
- How can bureaucratic language and jargon be used to mislead and manipulate?
Political affairs (historical and recent)
- How can formal language be used to mitigate blame and responsibility, negotiate social taboos, or establish national identity?
Having an awareness of key events and social issues in Australia, an understanding of the groups that make up Australia, and exposing yourself to a diverse set of media is really important in developing your essay writing skills. It does take time, but what will ultimately happen is that your discussions in your essays will be much more insightful and demonstrate a well thought out argument.
Apply Your Critical Thinking Skills
When writing essays, try your best to apply your critical thinking skills . Identify the assumptions you’re making when you present a certain point, and try to develop arguments against your position so that you can better understand why you have chosen your side. Developing a holistic and detailed contention is far better than just picking one side out of simplicity, as it allows you to demonstrate consideration and analysis of a range of factors that affect a certain issue. Use your evidence (contemporary examples, linguist quotes and stimulus material) to develop your points, and position yourself to be mindful of any biases you may have by continuously asking yourself what has influenced your way of thinking. Above all, try to discuss your essay prompts with your peers, as this will provide you with different perspectives and help you strengthen your own point.
Consistently Revising Metalanguage
Consistently revising metalanguage is crucial for doing well in English Language. Throughout Year 12, consistently revising metalanguage will be your responsibility. It is likely that you’ll be spending a greater proportion of class time in learning content, and writing practice pieces. Therefore, it’s really important to figure out a way that works best for you in being able to frequently revise metalanguage. Flashcards are useful for revision on the go, as well as making mind maps so that you’re able to visualise how everything is set out in the study design.
One issue students run into when it comes to learning metalanguage is that they’re able to define and give examples for metalanguage terms, however, they are unable to understand how those terms fit into the categories under each subsystem. For example, a student is able to remember what a metaphor is, but unable to recall that it fits under semantic patterning. Similarly, a student may know what a pause is, but not know if it’s part of prosodic features or discourse features.
It’s important to know what all the categories are because the short answer questions usually ask you to identify features under a particular category (e.g. you’d be asked to talk about semantic patterning, not metaphor or pun). Therefore, spending time on just revising the definitions alone isn’t sufficient in learning metalanguage. You also need to be able to ensure that you can recall which category each term fits under. Refer to the study design (pages 17-18) , for a list of categories you need to remember; these include:
- Prosodic features
- Vocal effects
- Phonological patterning
- Processes in connected speech
- Word classes, word formation processes
- Sentence types
- Sentence structures
- Syntactic patterning
- Features of spoken discourse
- Strategies of spoken discourse
- Semantic patterning
- Sense relations/other semantics
Using Meaningful Examples in Essays
When you talk about a certain variety of English, say for example ethnolects or teen speak, rather than just providing a lexical example or translation, try to find a contemporary example of the term being used in the media, online or by a prominent individual. For example, rather than saying:
‘The lexeme ‘bet’ is an example of teen speak which allows young people to establish solidarity ’,
you could say:
‘ Bakery owner Morgan Hipworth, who largely has a teenage following and is a young person himself, employs teenspeak in a video recipe, where he responds to the question “Can you make a 10 layer cheese toastie?” with “Bet, let’s go. ”’
This will provide you with a better opportunity to talk about in-groups and identity, rather than just defining and identifying an example as part of a particular variety. In doing so, you’re better able to address the roles of different linguistic examples in a contextualised and detailed manner.
In Building Essay Evidence Banks for English Language you’ll see that a short analysis for each of your examples (the ones you are collecting throughout the year) is encouraged, but, you could take things one step further - add on an extra column and combine your analysis and example in a practice sentence. Head to the blog to learn more about building evidence banks .
The political correctness debate is one which has been surfacing over the past few years, particularly with certain political figuring bringing this debate to the public platform. Let’s firstly define politically correct language. Political correctness is the avoidance of expressions which may offend, exclude or marginalize certain groups or individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Politically correct (PC) language is a framework used to promote and maintain social harmony. However, PC language can also be viewed to be a hindrance to expression and freedom of speech. The take an individual has on this debate is dependent on the connotations they associate with the phrase “political correctness”. Do they consider political correctness to be a social stabilizer or do they see it as language policing?
On one hand, the use of political correctness helps to confront prejudice in society and reinforce the idea of egalitarianism. This is achieved by slowly weakening the links between certain titles and the social groups they are associated with. This includes terms such as ‘black’, ‘wogs’, ‘curries’, ‘retarded’, ‘spastic’. Using PC terms such as ‘African-American’, ‘from Greek ethnicity’, ‘South-East Asian’ and ‘person with a disability’ are more respectful ways in which to address individuals without using titles which associate them with certain stereotypes or prejudiced thoughts. In particular, using ‘person with a disability’ rather than ‘disabled person’ is a way in which to dilute the link between the individual and the “disability” and to reiterate that the disability is only a single element of many which make up the individual.
While these are the currently accepted, politically correct terms, their appropriateness is likely to change with time. Originally, it was socially acceptable to use terms like ‘retard’, ‘chairman’, ‘policeman’ ‘black’, ‘man up’, ‘mother tongue’. However, with time, values change and society progresses and what is at one point considered socially acceptable becomes politically incorrect as further neutral terms are normalized. Thus, replacements such as, ‘differently abled’, ‘chairperson’, ‘police officer’, ‘African American’ and ‘native language’ are formed. As society continues to progress, these phrases will be outdated and replaced by new, more socially acceptable terms. This consistent cycle is spinning at a more rapid rate with globalization. With globalization, ideologies and values can be shared on wide platforms instantaneously. Through the sharing of ideas, new ideas and perceptions are molded and with this, the language we use to express ourselves also changes and develops.
This rapid evolution in “socially acceptable” language angers the public. Certain PC subtleties are seen by many as unnecessary. The trend towards political correctness is seen to inhibit freedom of expression, restricting individuals from speaking their mind in fear of causing offence. When there is public backlash over the lack of political correctness in a given situation, many individuals find this reaction to be highly excessive and a sign of over-sensitivity of the millennial generation. In an interview with ABC News, former solider stated that, ‘we just seem to bend over backwards for anyone that’s different. It is making Australia a lot softer, it’s making us a big more of a pushover country’.
This frustration of many is further exasperated by the rapid evolvement of normalized accepted terms in society.
When language used in the public domain borders on politically incorrect, there is a public uproar, in particular, by the younger generation. Donald Trump is a prime example of this and as put by The Atlantic, “the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.” Simply put, the language choices of Donald Trump are strikingly bold; they incite fear and frustration amongst the public, deepening social prejudice through the reinforcement of stereotypes.
However, Trump’s language echoes the frustration of Americans. It is void of obfuscating, complex politically correct language, giving the indication that Trump speaks his mind, hence garnering public support and above all trust. Building trust for a politician is next to impossible, however, when Trump speaks his mind, without fear of causing office to minority groups, he is indeed able to build trust, as he speaks aloud what many think but fear to vocalize.
While this may sound bizarre given the strong global hatred towards Donald Trump, the matter of the fact is that Donald Trump won a majority vote. With a strong following of supporters despite his many controversies, it is important to recognize the power of Trump’s linguistic choices.
We all remember the famous, ‘build a wall’ statement, which became a defining factor of Trump’s presidential campaign. While a highly politically incorrect agenda, which marginalized Mexican people, many people supported Trump’s endeavors. In particular, Americans who were frustrated with their employment conditions are given an excuse to place blame onto a certain group of people. Trump, an influential figures’ use of politically incorrect language to target Mexican’s effectively gave the freedom to others to speak what they had previously restricted themselves from vocalizing for fear of being politically incorrect.
Aside from freedom of speech, the second major issue associated with political correctness is obfuscation. This form of political correctness is institutionalized and because of this here is a genuine danger that the immense emphasis on being politically correct means that often, vital information can be omitted from news scenarios because it targets or potentially targets a certain individual or minority group. As a result, information presented can be bias and incomplete. The 2013 Rotherham child sex abuse scandal in the United Kingdom is a strong example of this. An estimated 1400 children were violated sexually. However, in the media, it was intentionally omitted that the majority of perpetrators were of Pakistani heritage. Similarly, in fear of provoking racial attacks against migrants during refugee resettlement, the German media made an effort to hide that the multiple sexual assaults during the 2016 New Year celebrations were conducted by men of North African or Middle Eastern ethnicity. The omission of such details does avoid marginalizing ethnic groups, but at the cost of significant and rightful information for the public. This tradeoff is one which is still being explored in society as the wave of political correctness is still quite new.
This debate is one which is still raw in society; it is yet to progress and as the world develops, the role PC language plays in our society will become clearer. Will PC language become more prevalent as society focuses more on social inclusion? Or, will the movement towards PC language be restricted due to the black-lash it faces for the shortcomings of this framework of communication?
Examples of Political Correctness:
2017 australia day lamb ad by meat and livestock co : this company releases an australia day lamb ad every year which aims to show a progressive and egalitarian australian society, celebrating the idea of a politically correct society., facebook video by the line promoting gender equality and challenging the expectations of men and women:.
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euphemism for cheating on homework
Synonyms of cheating.
- as in deception
- as in adultery
- as in dishonest
- as in misrepresenting
- as in lying
- as in disappointing
- as in hustling
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Thesaurus Definition of cheating
(Entry 1 of 3)
Synonyms & Similar Words
- double - dealing
- hanky - panky
- two - facedness
Antonyms & Near Antonyms
- two - timing
- criminal conversation
- love affair
Thesaurus Definition of cheating (Entry 2 of 3)
- two - faced
Thesaurus Definition of cheating (Entry 3 of 3)
- tampering (with)
- screwing around
- stepping out
- playing (around)
- fooling around
- catting (around)
- tomcatting (around)
- letting down
- bumming (out)
- shaking down
- ripping off
- taking for a ride
- taking to the cleaners
- selling a bill of goods to
- double - crossing
- roping (in)
- fast - talking
Thesaurus Entries Near cheating
Cite this entry.
“Cheating.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/cheating. Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.
More from Merriam-Webster on cheating
Nglish: Translation of cheating for Spanish Speakers
Britannica English: Translation of cheating for Arabic Speakers
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Column: The Focused Student: Academic integrity — cheating at school
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Honesty is the best policy, according to an oft-quoted old saw, but it’s a policy followed a lot less than 100% of the time by 100% of the people, especially when those people are students.
Cheating, by any other name is … well, there are many euphemisms and no shortage of justifications. Ever heard (or said), “I ‘forgot’ to report the cash I got for a few jobs,” or “I gave the cashier a $10 bill and she gave me change for a 20! Must be my lucky day”? Cheating, fudging, “forgetting,” “sharing,” it’s all pretty much the same.
Cheating occurs at all levels of education and it’s not exclusively a public or private school issue. Here are some facts about cheating:
• Cheating typically begins in middle school. Nine out of 10 middle schoolers admit to copying someone else’s homework, and two-thirds say they have cheated on exams.
• Cheating most often occurs in science and math classes.
• Seventy-five to 98% percent of college students surveyed each year admit to cheating at some time in their academic careers.
• Nearly 75% of 12,000 high school students surveyed admitted to cheating on an exam at some point during the prior year in order to get ahead.
According to a 1998 poll of Who’s Who Among American High School Students as reported at glass-castle.com , 80% of the country’s best students cheated to get to the top of their classes. Half of them did not see it as a big deal and most did not get caught.
For students, cheating is often a result of fear — fear of not being competitive, fear of disappointing parents, fear of looking like an underachiever to peers, fear of not getting into the right school or college.
Another reason cheating continues is that “everyone does it.” Most students believe this to be true, and as the numbers above show, this is not a misperception. Cheating in school is prevalent, so much so that many teachers ignore all but the most egregious cases.
A third reason students may cheat is because of what they see their parents and other adults do. We misstate their age to get a lower admission cost at movie, we wink at tax cheating (“everyone does it”), we condone minor offenses in sports in order to win.
Ultimately, we become inured to cheating, thus making it acceptable through our inaction. Students see it around them and read or hear it on television and social media.
Can you overcome the forces of social media, peer pressure, and self-imposed (if unrealistic) expectations and the “need” to cheat in order to meet those expectations?
Yes! At home, encourage honesty while acknowledging reality. Emphasize the gratification that comes from being honest with yourself, even when you could get away with being less than honest. Foster integrity and encourage your child to be a leader among his or her peers when it comes to being honest. And make certain you don’t contribute to the problem by being that demanding parent for whom only straight A’s is adequate performance. Let your child know that an honest B is more highly valued by you than a dishonest A.
At school, teachers need to present the same messages and explain to students how one act of dishonesty could have consequences that follow them for a lifetime. As students move into high school, teachers need to stress honesty and give examples of how cheating has backfired on others who continued going down that route. Teachers also need to invest the time and effort needed to create assignments and exams that are not readily shared or copied, and they need to be attuned to the misuse of electronic devices to facilitate cheating.
Cheating isn’t inevitable, everyone isn’t doing it, and its existence wears down the moral high ground on which we should all stand. Share that with your children, then help them live it.
Robert Frank is the executive director of the Hillside School and Learning Center in La Cañada. He holds a master’s of science degree in special education and has more than 40 years of teaching experience. His column appears on the last Thursday of each month. He can be reached at [email protected] .
Robert Frank is the executive director of the Hillside School and Learning Center in La Cañada. He holds a master’s of science degree in special education and has more than 40 years of teaching experience. His column appeared on the last Thursday of each month.
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Euphemism and Dysphemism: Language Used As Shield and Weapon
We do not have a copy of the exact text published by Oxford University Press, New York in 1991, but this version is very similar. The flaws are mostly very obvious.
Linguistica Silesiana 36 (2015), p. 111-125
This research is a contrastive study of euphemism strategies in both Arab and British media discourse with the purpose of discovering the similarities and differences between Arab and British sporting commentators when using euphemistic expressions in their commentaries on football matches. The study is an attempt to investigate the motives that force both Arab and British sporting commentators to use such euphemistic strategies. This study also tries to investigate the most frequent strategies of euphemism used by both Arab and British commentators. It also tries to discover the most frequent topics in which the Arab and British commentators use euphemism strategies in order to soften the meaning. Moreover, this study attempts to investigate to what extent the social context governs the usage of certain strategies. As for the data, the researcher collected 20 matches with Arabic commentary from different channels and 20 matches with English commentary from different channels. These matches are obtained and downloaded from www.youtube.com. Although the data of each sample are analyzed separately, the procedures followed were identical. Data analysis is based on the 26 euphemistic strategies. The two different samples are analyzed to find which of the 26 euphemistic strategies are used; and which of these are more frequent than others. A comparison is conducted between the two sets of data to find out the aspects of similarities and differences between them. Finally, a qualitative analysis is conducted to explain and investigate these differences and similarities from a cultural perspective. The findings of the study revealed that both Arabic and British Commentators are euphemism oriented, each in his own way. Though they have some things in common, they differ in their use of some certain euphemistic strategies. They also use euphemism a lot in such topic as death and hard times. As for the differences between Arabic and British commentators, Arabic commentators tend to use euphemism more often than British ones. Moreover, the results show that Arab commentators tend to use “Overstatement”, “Particularization”, “Metaphor”, and “Implication”. In contrast, British commentators tend to use “Synonyms”, “Jargon”, and “Understatement” respectively. Key words: Figurative Language, Euphemism, Media Discourse, Euphemistic Strategies, Death.
Is it acceptable to virtually ignore taboo language in the teaching of ESL/EFL, as has been traditionally the case, given its prevalence in everyday modern life? This dissertation examines whether or not taboo language should indeed be taught to ESL/EFL learners, and, if so, how. The methodology for doing so first ascertains what taboo language is by examining its origins and its changing nature while also reflecting on its psychological and sociolinguistic functions. This investigation produces enough evidence for concluding that taboo language is an endemic part of our overall grammar and that it is linguistically of equal importance to any other kind of language. Nevertheless is this a strong enough reason to include it in ESL/EFL pedagogy? To answer this question some complementary empirical research is undertaken in the form of two questionnaires assessing both teacher and learner attitudes and opinions on the matter. The results show some interesting trends, not least that a significant minority of participants believe taboo language should be taught in the classroom. It does not however result in any significant SPSS findings. Therefore some theoretical arguments for and against its inclusion in any ESL/EFL curriculum are debated. Following the debate, it is ultimately determined that taboo language needs to be embraced in most ESL/EFL classrooms in some shape or form, as it is a fact of life that ESL/EFL learners need to be aware of. However the arguments against its teaching highlight several issues that need to be taken very seriously if such a project is to be undertaken, including the danger of causing offense and the need for intensive preparation in advance in order to teach it positively, effectively and properly contextualized. A methodology is then proposed on how to overcome the fear factor that impedes its teaching. General issues to do with learners, teachers, class format and content matter are examined in the effort to overcome any potential constraints. Subsequently several sociolinguistic and metalinguistic approaches to teaching about taboo language are proffered that can be used as a framework and/or a catalyst for teaching taboo terms themselves, if learners are so willing. Indeed these approaches are of pedagogical interest in themselves. Furthermore, given the validity of these approaches, it is the opinion of this researcher that it would be totally remiss to not to include taboo language in the teaching of ESL/EFL in many cases.
Warren-Rothlin, Andy. "Euphemisms and Bible Translations." Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics. Edited by: Geoffrey Khan. Brill Online, 2013.
Andrea Pizarro Pedraza
Linguistic taboo has been relegated for a long time to a peripheral position within Linguistics, due to its social stigmatization and inherent linguistic complexity. Recently, though, there has been a renewed interest in revisiting the phenomenon, especially from cognitive frameworks. This volume is the first collection of papers dealing with linguistic taboo from that perspective. The volume gathers 15 chapters, which provide novel insights into a broad range of taboo phenomena (euphemism, dysphemism, swearing, political correctness, coprolalia, etc.) from the fields of sexuality, diseases, death, war, ageing or religion. With a special focus on lexical semantics, the authors in the volume work within Cognitive Linguistics frameworks such as conceptual metaphor and metonymy, cultural conceptualization or cognitive sociolinguistics, but also at the interface of pragmatics, discourse analysis, applied linguistics, cognitive science or psychiatry. This volume provides theoretical reflections and case studies based on new methods and data from varied languages (English, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, Persian, Gikũyũ and Egyptian Arabic). As such, it moves towards a new generation of linguistic taboo studies.
Daniel Ochieng Orwenjo
Journal of pragmatics
ELS Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities
Swearing and Cursing: Contexts and Practices in a Critical Linguistic Perspective
Muhammad Muhsin Ibrahim
Journal of Pragmatics
Ochieng Orwenjo , Daniel Ochieng Orwenjo
Yasser A. Gomaa , 施 丽
Miguel Casas Gómez
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Ari J Adipurwawidjana
Shiite Endowment Faculty
Muhammad H U S S A I N Albadry
Rusdi Noor Rosa
: Jurnal Ilmiah Vol.1 April 2013 Politeknik Piksi Ganesha Bandung
Lire Journal (Journal of Linguistics and Literature)
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies
Arab World English Journal (AWEJ)
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The Center for Public Education states that the disadvantages of homework vary.
Homework is good because it gives students a chance to practice and internalize information presented during classroom lessons. It also encourages parents to get involved in the student’s education.
Homework should be banned because there is no evidence that it correlates to better learning or grades. Additionally, too much homework can detract from other important activities and relationships that are essential for the child’s develop...
cheating on a test 3. committing adultery 4. cheating the IRS 5. death penalty 6. failing to graduate from high school 7. flunking out of
Your Friday Challenge is cheater euphemisms. Were they "hiking the Appalachian Trail"? Photographing their tractor by moonlight? Share!
"Mark copied his exam answers from Peter". "I couldn't be bothered doing my homework, so instead I just copied the correct answers from my mate"
Growing up in the early 80s on Long Island NY, the euphemism was "borrowing".
Synonyms for CHEATING: deception, fraud, deceit, deceptiveness, cunning, deceitfulness, lying, dishonesty; Antonyms of CHEATING: good faith, sincerity
Nine out of 10 middle schoolers admit to copying someone else's homework, and two-thirds say they have cheated on exams. • Cheating most often
Using a euphemism can add some levity to a difficult topic. With these euphemism ... sleeping around for cheating on one's partner; afternoon
If he cheats in the exam, cheating may be replaced by “peer homework, comparing answers, collaborating, harvesting answers”. A student below the average
euphemism may have been a distancing strategy for the respondent. Copying may
Example: Dez used euphemism to tell Conner he didn't like his shoes.
cheating, lacklinen mate! Away you mouldy rogue. Away! I am meat for your
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Euphemism - Meaning, Definition, Usage and Day-To-Day Examples
All of us live in an age where communication is an effortless task, and at the same time, we end up having misunderstandings and disagreements just because of the way something was said. Whatever you wish to convey, the kind of words you use and the way you put them decide how they would be perceived by the listener or reader. It is always difficult to communicate sad news or a negative opinion. The English language has a figure of speech called euphemism that will help you avoid this problem. In this article, you will learn what euphemism is, its definition, how to use euphemisms in a sentence and the points to remember when using euphemisms. The article also provides you with an extensive list of the most commonly used euphemisms for your reference.
Table of Contents
What is euphemism – meaning and definition, using euphemism in sentences – points to remember, list of most commonly used euphemisms for everyday communication, frequently asked questions on the usage of euphemism.
The term ‘euphemism’ refers to those words or a phrase that can be used to convey something unpleasant, sad or considered taboo. It is the art of communicating something in a less annoying and much lighter tone or in an indirect manner.
Taking a look at how various dictionaries define euphemism can help you understand the term better. According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the term ‘euphemism’ is defined as “an indirect word or phrase that people often use to refer to something embarrassing or unpleasant, sometimes to make it seem more acceptable than it really is”. “A word or phrase used to avoid saying an unpleasant or offensive word” is the definition of euphemism, according to the Cambridge Dictionary.
The Collins Dictionary defines euphemism as “a polite word or expression that is used to refer to things which people may find upsetting or embarrassing to talk about”, and according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, euphemism is defined as “the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant”.
Knowing more than one way to communicate any piece of information is always a life-saver. Nobody gets to deal with just positive things all the time. Every now and then, there will be unpleasant events and not-so-great thoughts to be shared. Being able to put even an unpleasant idea in a pleasant and acceptable manner is a skill you should cultivate. Another reason for you to learn euphemisms is that they help you sound concerned about someone or some event that has taken place. One main point you should bear in mind when using euphemisms is that they are not meant to be sarcastic. Furthermore, you should also make it a point to learn and understand what each euphemism means before using it in your conversations.
Examples of Sentences Using Euphemism
Given below are a few examples of sentences using euphemisms. Go through them and try to comprehend how it is used.
- His great-grandfather passed away last week.
- It is so unfortunate that we have to let you go .
- Sandra seems to be between jobs.
- The collateral damage that resulted from the war was saddening.
- We have a differently-abled man working as security.
- We got to know that the family was on the streets, and so we are trying to help them in every way possible.
- Shankar belongs to a well-to-do family.
- The company has been facing negative cash flow for the past few years.
- Devan’s grandmother seems to be enjoying her golden years happily and peacefully.
- Rory was planning to go over to her parents’ house to break the news of the bun in the oven.
Here is a table with the most common euphemisms, along with their meanings, that are used in day-to-day conversations for your reference. Check it out.
What is the meaning of the term ‘euphemism’?
What is the definition of euphemism.
According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the term ‘euphemism’ is defined as “an indirect word or phrase that people often use to refer to something embarrassing or unpleasant, sometimes to make it seem more acceptable than it really is”. “A word or phrase used to avoid saying an unpleasant or offensive word” is the definition of euphemism, according to the Cambridge Dictionary. The Collins Dictionary defines euphemism as “a polite word or expression that is used to refer to things which people may find upsetting or embarrassing to talk about”, and according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, euphemism is defined as “the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant”.
Why should we use euphemisms?
Euphemism is mainly used to make something look or sound less complicated or unpleasant than it actually is. It can be used to make your audience feel that you are genuinely concerned about the matter being discussed.
Give some examples of sentences using euphemisms.
Here are some sentence examples to show you how euphemisms can be used.
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When does getting help on an assignment turn into cheating?
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Students – whether at university or school – can get help from many places. They can go to a tutor, parent, teacher, a friend or consult a textbook.
But at which point does getting help cross the line into cheating?
Sometimes it’s clear. If you use a spy camera or smartwatch in an exam, you’re clearly cheating. And you’re cheating if you get a friend to sit an exam for you or write your assignment.
At other times the line is blurry. When it’s crossed, it constitutes academic misconduct. Academic misconduct is any action or attempted action that may result in creating an unfair academic advantage for yourself or others.
What about getting someone else to read a draft of your essay? What if they do more than proofread and they alter sections of an assignment? Does that constitute academic misconduct?
Learning, teaching or cheating?
There are a wide range of activities that constitute academic misconduct. These can include:
fabrication, which is just making things up. I could say “90 % of people admit to fabricating their assignments”, when this is not a fact but a statement I just invented
falsification, which is manipulating data to inaccurately portray results. This can occur by taking research results out of context and drawing conclusions not supported by data
misrepresentation, which is falsely representing yourself. Did you know I have a master’s degree from the University of Oxford on this topic? (Actually, I don’t)
plagiarism, which is when you use other people’s ideas or words without appropriate attribution. For instance, this list came from other people’s research and it is important to reference the source.
Sometimes students and teachers have different ideas of academic misconduct. One study found around 45% of academics thought getting someone else to correct a draft could constitute academic misconduct. But only 32% of students thought the same thing.
Read more: Assessment design won’t stop cheating, but our relationships with students might
In the same survey, most academics and students agreed having someone else like a parent or friend identify errors in a draft assignment, as opposed to correcting them, was fine.
Generally when a lecturer, teacher or another marker is assessing an assignment they need to establish the authenticity of the work. Authenticity means having confidence the work actually relates to the performance of the person being assessed, and not of another person.
The Australian government’s vocational education and training sector’s quality watchdog, for instance, considers authenticity as one of four so-called rules of evidence for an “effective assessment”.
The rules are:
validity, which is when the assessor is confident the student has the skills and knowledge required by the module or unit
sufficiency, which is when the quality, quantity and relevance of the assessment evidence is enough for the assessor to make a judgement
authenticity, where the assessor is confident the evidence presented for assessment is the learner’s own work
currency, where the assessor is confident the evidence relates to what the student can do now instead of some time in the past.
Generally speaking, if the assessor is confident the work is the product of a student’s thoughts and where help has been provided there is proper acknowledgement, it should be fine.
Why is cheating a problem?
It’s difficult to get a handle on how big the cheating problem is. Nearly 30% of students who responded to a 2012 UK survey agreed they had “submitted work taken wholly from an internet source” as their own.
In Australia, 6% of students in a survey of 14,000 reported they had engaged in “outsourcing behaviours” such as submitting someone else’s assignment as their own, and 15% of students had bought, sold or traded notes.
Getting someone to help with your assignment might seem harmless but it can hinder the learning process. The teacher needs to understand where the student is at with their learning, and too much help from others can get in the way.
Read more: Children learn from stress and failure: all the more reason you shouldn't do their homework
Some research describes formal education as a type of “ signal ”. This means educational attainment communicates important information about an individual to a third party such as an employer, a customer, or to an authority like a licensing body or government department. Academic misconduct interferes with that process.
How to deal with cheating
It appears fewer cheaters are getting away with it than before. Some of the world’s leading academic institutions have reported a 40% increase in academic misconduct cases over a three year period.
Technological advances mean online essay mills and “ contract cheating ” have become a bigger problem. This type of cheating involves outsourcing work to third parties and is concerning because it is difficult to detect .
Read more: 15% of students admit to buying essays. What can universities do about it?
But while technology has made cheating easier, it has also offered sophisticated systems for educators to verify the work is a person’s own. Software programs such as Turnitin can check if a student has plagiarised their assignment.
Institutions can also verify the evidence they are assessing relates to a student’s actual performance by using a range of assessment methods such as exams, oral presentations, and group assignments.
Academic misconduct can be a learning and cultural issue . Many students, particularly when they are new to higher education, are simply not aware what constitutes academic misconduct. Students can often be under enormous pressure that leads them to make poor decisions.
It is possible to deal with these issues in a constructive manner that help students learn and get the support they need. This can include providing training to students when they first enrol, offering support to assist students who may struggle, and when academic misconduct does occur, taking appropriate steps to ensure it does not happen again.
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Brian Cox slams 'idiot' directors for 'not doing their homework' and failing to inspire him: 'I've been lucky, but I've worked with some real bozos'
By Ross Kaniuk For Mailonline
Published: 15:11 EST, 13 November 2023 | Updated: 16:18 EST, 13 November 2023
Succession star Brian Cox has hit out at directors, calling many of them “idiots” and saying he has seldom gained much inspiration from them.
The Scottish actor, who played media empire chief Logan Roy in the award-winning HBO series Succession about a warring family, said even though he’s been lucky enough to work with some great directors, he has had to “bite the bullet” a lot.
Cox, 77, who is now starring in the new Amazon Prime series 007: Road To A Million, said: 'I’ve been very lucky with directors, but I’ve also worked with some real bozos. And they couldn’t direct a certain thing into a top hat.
'But it’s a real struggle sometimes. I as an actor am always look for the great note, the note that illuminates what I have to do, and I seldom get it.
'I have to do it for myself, but I don’t want to be in that situation of doing it for myself. We want to be sort of inspired in some way. And there’s very little inspiration comes from a lot of directors. It makes it very hard.
Not happy: Succession star Brian Cox has hit out at directors, calling many of them “idiots” and saying he has seldom gained much inspiration from them
'I was in a situation recently where the director really was coming up with notes which were so unhelpful.
'So I had to go through the script and say "that means that, that means that, that doesn’t mean that what you’re suggesting that I should do, because you’re asking for an emotion and a feeling without actually understanding what the intention is, what the point is."
'And a lot of directors do that. They don’t do their homework. They’re so busy seeing "oh, the whole picture" that they forget about the detail. All of it is in the detail and that includes the acting.'
He added: 'I really want directors who can inspire that and sadly not a lot of them do. They forget about the acting, they forget about what that’s about, what the mystery of that is.'
Speaking in a new BBC Maestro series on acting, he added: 'A lot of directors don’t understand the relationship between word and image. They understand image and they can go all the way down the road of image. But the words are sort of set aside. Or they’re literal and they don’t get the image right.'
Talking about the times he felt at odds with a director, Cox admitted: 'You deal with it with great difficulty – a director who you’re not getting on with you have to just bite on the bullet. This happens a lot.
'And you have to have a sense of self-preservation within that situation. “Diplomacy is always useful. It’s hard.
'You have to learn the lesson and say "Oh, I see, I’m working with an idiot, but I’m not going to let it stop me getting to where I’m supposed to go". And that happens a lot.'
Fame: The actor is a hugely successful stage and television actor and has soared to huge fame as media titan Logan Roy in smash hit series Succession
Opening up: Cox spoke about his experiences with directors in a new BBC Maestro series on acting (pictured)
But Cox also said he’d been fortunate enough to work under some great directors in his long career, hailing Spike Lee as possibly the best he’d encountered.
He added: 'I’ve worked with some of the finest directors ever. They have been awe-inspiring. They had vision about what they were doing, and what the point of the piece that they were doing is.'
He praised “very eccentric” Wes Anderson, who he worked with on the comedy Rushmore and who won an Oscar for 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, as having “a kind of really original sensibility."
But even with Anderson, he didn’t agree with all the director’s methods.
He said: 'The only problem I had with Wes was repeat lines, and I did say to him "if you do that all the time we lose the rhythm of the scene" - and the rhythm of the scene is very important. We have to know where we’re going, how I take on what he says, and he takes on what I say.
'If you stop that rhythm every time, you’re actually making it more difficult for how we’re playing the scene. Because it’s stop, start, stop, start, stop, start, and that will always show.'
Speaking out: 'We want to be sort of inspired in some way. And there’s very little inspiration comes from a lot of directors. It makes it very hard,' he said
New role: The actor currently features in new Amazon Prime reality show 007: Road To A Million (pictured)
Cox hailed Malcolm X director Spike Lee, who became the youngest person ever to be given an Honorary Academy Award at the age of 58 in 2015.
He said: 'Spike Lee is one of the best directors I’ve worked with, bar none. I did a film called 25th Hour with Spike. His knowledge of cinema is so astonishing.
'He has a real brain side by side with an extraordinary instinct. He has this ability of putting you exactly where you should be. You know where to be physically, you know where to be mentally, you know where to be emotionally within the scene.
'He’d done his homework, so that when he came with a note it was the right note. There was no argument.
'That’s the sign of a great director. There are certain directors that you know you can feel safe, and you can say ‘I’ll do anything because there is an integrity of work here’.
'But yeah, I would advise anybody to try some directing.'
Find out more about Brian Cox’s BBC Maestro course on Acting at bbcmaestro.com.
Share or comment on this article: Brian Cox slams 'idiot' directors for 'not doing their homework' and failing to inspire him: 'I've been lucky, but I've worked with some real bozos'
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