Introduction to the concept Euphemisms • Euphemisms are typically used to talk about awkward or uncomfortable subjects. • When might an awkward or uncomfortable subject need to be discussed by a dental professional? • Such subjects are often described in great detail in legal documents and court cases. The idea of DEATH and DYING, for example has many euphemisms: Pass away, pass on, expire, deceased, perish, meet one's death, meet one's end, be taken, yield one's breath, resign one's breath, resign one's being, resign one's life, end one's days, end one's life, breathe one's last, cease to live, cease to breathe, depart this life, be no more, lose one's life, lay down one's life, relinquish one's life, surrender one's life, pay the debt to nature, make one's will, step out, die a natural death, come to an untimely end, catch one's death, kick the bucket, buy the farm, turn up one's toes, six feet under, pushing up daisies, worm food… Which of these euphemisms are more formal? Less formal? Which would be appropriate for a respectful obituary? Which might be used in a distasteful joke?
General information and examples Euphemisms A euphemism is a word or expression that is used when people want to find a polite or less direct way of talking about difficult or embarrassing topics. • We had our sick dog killed We had Fido put down/put to sleep. • Fat person stocky/heavy person overweight person* • Ugly person plain person • He is lazy He is not working to his full potential or He has a relaxed attitude about his work • She is disruptive She has difficulty concentrating • He is loud and arrogant He has strong opinions about everything and is not afraid to voice them • Poor person needy, under-privileged, disadvantaged or economically deprived. • Crippled handicapped disabled* • Housewife domestic engineer • Old person senior; elderly • Secretary Administrative assistant * Note that sometimes euphemisms are replaced by further euphemized words/phrases Adapted from: http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/easy/euphem.htm
Field-specific activities Dental Euphemisms Can you think of other examples? Use some of these euphemisms to role play professional scenarios. Think of language that might be used in place of the following sensitive words? • Blood • Pus • Pain • Shot • Rotten
Field-specific activities Legal Euphemisms Think of language that might be used in place of the following sensitive words? • Blood • Semen • Gun • Kill • Naked • Protective custody • Internment facility • Pacify • Person of interest • Collateral damage • Substance abuser • Law enforcement officer Can you think of other examples? Use some of these euphemisms to role play professional scenarios.
Introduction to the concept Denotation & Connotation Look at the sentences below. Discuss the meanings of these utterances. • 1a) City Diner is a small restaurant at the edge of town. • Vs. • 1b) City Diner is a greasy spoon on the other side of the tracks. • 1c) City Diner is a delightful eatery on a cozy tree-lined street. • 2a) “From the looks of your mouth, you have not been brushing as I have instructed you. Why aren’t you taking care of your teeth?” • Vs. • 2b) “Your teeth don’t look as clean as they could be. Are you having any difficulty using the cleaning techniques we talked about last time? Is the message the same in 1a, 1b and 1c? 2a and 2b? What differs between the sets?
General information and examples Denotation & Connotation • Denotation: The dictionary meaning (literal meaning) of a word • Connotation: The emotional or cultural meaning attached to a word • Denotation: A young human being; offspring • Connotation: Child: young person Kid: young person (informal) Youngster: younger than others in a group Juvenile: not yet reaching maturity • Rug rat: troublesome youth Consider the words: child, kid, youngster, juvenile & rug rat Decide whether each word has a positive, neutral or negative connotation. How can we learn the denotation of a word? How can we learn the connotation of a word?
Field-specific structured activities Denotation & Connotation Decide whether each of these words has a positive, neutral or negative connotation to the average listener. Which would be easier for a patient to hear? “Do you ever spit out blood?” OR “What color is your saliva?” • Blood • Puss • Syringe • Needle • Disease • Infection • Fluid • Drill • Spit • Saliva • X-ray • Photo
Field-specific open-ended activities Denotation & Connotation • What impact might come from paying attention to denotation and connotation in your speaking? • What impact might come from NOT paying attention to denotation and connotation in your speaking? • What might you gain from paying attention to denotation and connotation when listening to others? • How might you strengthen your understanding of word connotation?
Introduction to the concept Direct vs. Indirect Language Many American English speakers are quite wary of being rude so they often default to indirect language to avoid this. Examples: Indirect: I was hoping that you could finish that project today. It’s really important. Direct: The project is already late. Why aren’t you finished yet? What differences do you note between the indirect and the direct examples? When would you use direct language? When would you use indirect language?
General information and examples Direct vs. Indirect Language • When might indirect language be more appropriate than direct language? • * Criticizing the behavior of others • * Complaining • * Making suggestions • * Self-praise • * Requesting help or favors Lend me the book. Vs. Can I borrow the book?
Direct Where is the explorer? Open your mouth. This will hurt. Sit down. You’re late for your appointment. Indirect Have you seen the explorer? Could you open up a bit more? You might feel a bit of a pinch. You might want to consider flossing more frequently. Could you please pass the cheek retractor? Field-specific activities Direct vs. Indirect Language What structural and vocabulary differences do you notice between direct and indirect language? In what kinds of circumstances would each of the above sentences likely be used? If you needed the signature of your professor, how would you ask? If you wanted your roommate to pass you the newspaper, how would you ask?
Field-specific open-ended activities Culmination Scenario Role play the following challenging situation incorporating politeness strategies. Legal Example Describe to your colleague a case that you are reading involving a 400-pound man who fell out of his hospital bed and didn’t receive any help for 3 hours. When the staff found him, he was covered in blood and urine. He was so angry when a nurse finally came, that he hit her and broke her nose. The hospital called the police and he’s suing the hospital and the nursing staff.
Field-specific open-ended activities Communication Evaluation • Watch the video clip and consider the following: • Are the professionals communicating in a way that will build relationships? • What do you see as positive components of their communication styles? • What suggestions might you offer to improve politeness or appropriateness? • Watch a short segment and revise for increased politeness. • Role play one of the segments or continue the conversation in a polite tone.