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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Sexuality is a driving force of people’s lives; it is beset with powerful taboos that shape human behavior and communication. It is also a multifaceted phenomenon that has many variations and requires many distinct vocabularies. In this regard, this chapter examines the language people use in speaking of sex and sexuality. To this end, it focuses on the types of X-phemistic (i.e., orthophemistic, euphemistic, and dysphemistic) naming in a diversity of sex-related taboo areas, including homosexuality, conventional and unconventional sexual practices, masturbation, prostitution, pornography, and body parts. Because metaphor stands out as a potent source for sexual vocabulary, special attention is paid to the role of figurative language in discussing sex-related matters. This study shows that the sexual taboo is a breeding ground for X-phemistic references that perform different communicative functions, ranging from attenuation to offence, solidarity, or in-group cohesion.

Keywords: sexual taboo, euphemism, dysphemism, conceptual metaphor, slang

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