On Language, Soft Language

Euphemisms are Anti-Magic Words

Our use of euphemisms is proof of a deep-seated belief in the magic of words.

Steven Pinker explains:

“Taboo speech is part of a larger phenomenon known as word magic. Though one of the foundations of linguistics is that the pairing between a sound and a meaning is arbitrary, most humans intuitively believe otherwise. They treat the name for an entity as part of its essence, so that the mere act of uttering a name is seen as a way to impinge on its referent. Incantations, spells, prayers, and curses are ways that people try to affect the world through words, and taboos and euphemisms are ways that people try not to affect it.” (The Stuff of Thought, p. 331)

George Carlin – On Language

George Carlin – Soft Language

Tagged , , ,

2 thoughts on “On Language, Soft Language

  1. rupĂ­sima says:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s