Global Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (GJAHSS)

EA Journals


Stylistic Choice of Euphemism as a Strategy against Vulgarity in Social Media (Published)

There is no gainsaying the fact that social media such as facebook encapsulate language of obscenity, vulgarity and indecency. Using the stylistic approach that considers style as choice, the paper contends that stylistic strategy of euphemism can be deployed to mitigate obscenity and vulgarity in the language of social media. An article on facebook “Letter to my Boss” serves as data for the analysis of obscenity in the language of social media. Linguistic contents of the article, purposively selected and placed in the first columns of both tables I & II, represent the stylistic choices of the writer, while the linguistic content on the second columns of the tables represents the available linguistic options open to the writer. The analysis reveals that the writer carefully selects his/her linguistic choices while ignoring other choices of the available options even though they contain the same meanings. This is perhaps done in order to mitigate the obscenity that the article would have portrayed. The paper therefore suggests that this euphemistic strategy can be deployed as stylistic choice in any literary piece where vulgarity and obscenity are inevitable.

Keywords: Language, Mitigation, Obscenity, Style, Taboo


This inquiry focuses on Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus. This is precisely because scholarly studies on Adichie and her literary pieces have attracted increasing interest in literature in recent times, as a result of her recognition as the new voice of Nigerian and indeed African literature, given that she has gained a measure of success that eludes many old and new generation writers within and outside Africa. Earlier scholarship on Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus was generally concerned with plot advancement, character presentation, subject matter and thematic projection. Regrettably, none has paid adequate attention to the aesthetic values of Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus. This therefore is the preoccupation of this exploration. This examination contends therefore that to extol her artistic liberty, Adichie uses Igbo English (IE) significantly as a deliberate but significant stylistic gizmo. Thus, Adichie writes her Purple Hibiscus in English Language and then she deploys supra-linguistics and para-verbal nuances such as local expressions, African oral tales, oral songs, code variation, transliteration, linguistic apposition, local idioms, incantations, and lampoons. All these language games and stylistic strategies boost the Africanity in her Purple Hibiscus.

Keywords: Creativity, Foregrounding, Nativization, Oral tradition, Style, Stylistics

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