Political Correctness – Maintaining a Balanced View
Keywords:Politically correct speech, Euphemism, Periphrasis, Clarity, Freedom of speech
The paper deals with the concept of the so-called 'political correctness', primarily with regard to how it affects the language, particularly that of the non-native speakers of English, who may sometimes not be sufficiently aware of the sensitivity of the issue in the target language, frequently not nearly as pronounced in their own society and cultural setting. Not surprisingly, 'political correctness' has over the years caused a lot of heated argument and has divided people, not only linguists, into its ardent supporters and detractors. While the former defend it on the grounds that it can effectively combat intolerance, prejudice and injustice, the latter object to it as merely an instrument of political control and manipulation and an impediment to the freedom of speech. They base their argument on the fact that things are sometimes taken too far, many expressions already accepted or suggested as 'politically correct' sounding exaggerated, unnatural, and ridiculous. Furthermore, they argue that political correctness frequently obscures the meaning and is directed against clarity, thereby deteriorating the language. The authors therefore deem it necessary to highlight and explore the arguments of both sides, trying to propose the best ways of dealing with the issue, making all those concerned fully aware of the problem and its implications, at the same time striving to establish and maintain a balance.