Knowledge Representation and Orthophemism: A Reflection Aiming to a Concept

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Characteristics of speech, especially figures of speech, are used by specific communities or domains, and, in this way, reflect their identities through their choice of vocabulary. This topic should be an object of study in the context of knowledge representation once it deals with different contexts of production of documents. This study aims to explore the dimensions of the concepts of euphemism, dysphemism, and orthophemism, focusing on the latter with the goal of extracting a concept which can be included in discussions about subject analysis and indexing. Euphemism is used as an alternative to a non-preferred expression or as an alternative to an offensive attribution-to avoid potential offense taken by the listener or by other persons, for instance, pass away. Dysphemism, on the other hand, is used by speakers to talk about people and things that frustrate and annoy them-their choice of language indicates disapproval and the topic is therefore denigrated, humiliated, or degraded, for instance, kick the bucket. While euphemism tries to make something sound better, dysphemism tries to make something sound worse. Orthophemism (Allan and Burridge 2006) is also used as an alternative to expressions, but it is a preferred, formal, and direct language of expression when representing an object or a situation, for instance, die. This paper suggests that the comprehension and use of such concepts could support the following issues: possible contributions from linguistics and terminology to subject analysis as demonstrated by Talamo et al. (1992); decrease of polysemy and ambiguity of terms used to represent certain topics of documents; and construction and evaluation of indexing languages. The concept of orthophemism can also serves to support associative relationships in the context of subject analysis, indexing, and even information retrieval related to more specific requests.





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Knowledge Organization. Wurzburg: Ergon-verlag, v. 39, n. 5, p. 384-393, 2012.

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