Social and Cultural Euphemism in Saudi Arabic: a Semantic, a Pragmatic and a Sociolinguistic Analysis

Bakri Al-Azzam, Mohammad Al-Ahaydib, Norah Alkhowaiter, Husam Al-Momani


This paper explores the universal linguistic phenomenon of the social and cultural euphemism in Saudi Arabic. It aims at improving the understanding of other cultures' readers of the Saudi culture, concerning uses of euphemism, and simultaneously showing how some linguistic expressions are essentially products of social and cultural pressures. To examine this notion, the study analyzes and classifies examples of the most frequently used Saudi Arabic euphemism, based on various topics. The study shows that the social and cultural factors are very influential in expressing euphemism. It also reveals a clear and a huge shift in the use of euphemism in the Saudi culture, where Saudis did not apply euphemisms frequently in the past, as they are applying these days. Because of the new development of the country’s economy, openness, interfaith dialogue, cultural communication, new lifestyles have emerged and called for more prestigious linguistic behavior. It is hoped that the study would uncover why there are certain sensitive situations where euphemism is needed, such as those of religion, social circumstances, and death situations.



euphemism, taboos, Saudi Arabia, culture, semantics

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