Euphemistic Tone Used on Business English

2019-11-07 03:49:26 校园英语·下旬 2019年10期

【Abstract】 My thesis attempts to analyze linguistic realization of euphemism in business correspondence and negotiation. Numerous books have been published to offer guidelines for business correspondence and negotiation.

【Key words】 euphemism; business negotiation


1. Introduction

There are no easy choices in business correspondence and negotiation; there are only intelligent choices. Business negotiation as social activity ranges from such examples as discussion of the daily distribution of work within an office, through an inter-firm disagreement over an ambiguous contractual detail, to organizing many sales campaign aimed at an overseas market. Every negotiation is constituted of language and is several social behaviours enacted within the language.

2. Euphemistic Expressions and tone in Business Correspondence

Within business correspondence or negotiation there is one major problem that: how the proper wording is achieved to save the addressers face and the addressees face and especially its result on the receiver. Business correspondence is very necessary, because we need to contact other parties and keep good relationship with other parties. Some participants might have to make serious adjustments to their goals, and to accept compromises in accommodating themselves to an agreed settlement. All of this can be accomplished more easily if the cooperative relationship between them is sustained. The speaker is pessimistic about the hearers willingness and therefore leaves more room for the hearers freedom. Consider the following example: (Bill, an employee, is talking with his manager.) Youre not actually saying that you dont want a shorter working week if Im right. Youre just saying that you cant afford one at this particular time. In this extract, Bills negative design minimizes and obscures the concession he is seeking. He does not explicitly claim that management are in favour of the shorter working week, but he implies it with his cautious and pessimistic phrase youre not actually saying that you DONT want a shorter working week. Its tentative design promotes managements confirmation - for example, by displaying uncertainty through the hedge if Im right. Here the negative usage gives redress to the hearers negative face by explicitly expressing doubt that the conditions for the appropriateness of the speakers speech act obtain. I dont know whether youre interested, but …We can see in this strategy a speaker is faced with opposing tensions: the desire to give the hearer an ‘out by being indirect, and the desire to go on record. In this case it is solved by the compromise of conventional indirectness, the use of phrases and sentences that have contextually unambiguous meanings which are different from their literal meanings. In this way the utterance goes on record, and the speaker indicates his desire to have gone off record (to have conveyed the same thing indirectly). The negative sentence, conventional indirectness, encodes the clash of wants, and so partially achieves them both. Next point is - Interrogative sentence. In negotiating process, face-threatening acts will arise when one side assumes that the opponent is likely to be willing / able to do some acts predicated of him. One of face redressing strategies is the usage of interrogative sentence. The speaker wants to definitely convey that he is unsure whether the hearer can do A, and so he questions it. As the playwright Eugene Ionesco comments, “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”? Asking a question is like sharpening a pencil: Each proper question helps to whittle down the problem.

3. Conclusion

To support negative face, the speaker can turn to such grammatical choices as hedging words and phrases, passive voice, the past tense or negative sentence. Different culture bears a different influence on the outcome of the same phrasing. The language of business negotiation plays an important role in creating the cooperative atmosphere. The language has the magic power to determine how the addressee understands the speakers words and hence the language exerts a great influence on the negotiating process.


[1]Christopher E M. Negotiating Skills for Business. Landon: Kogan Page, 2016.

[2]Kellar R E. Sales Negotiating Handwork. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2008.

[3]Scott B. Negotiating and Influencing Skills. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 1981.