A lesson plan to introduce the idea of using euphemistic speech in a professional environment.
Teacher’s notes and activity sheets PDF / ODT / Docx
Step 1. Introduce the idea of euphemistic speech. English speakers often use euphemistic speech when talking about a third party to avoid being insulting or creating an awkward situation. It’s much more polite to say someone is mature or creative minded rather than old or crazy.
Step 2. Students match the euphemisms to their hidden meaning. Go through the answers and add any others that occur, maybe equivalents in the students L1 spark further ideas.
Step 3. Look at the four sentences and ask students to try and decode the euphemism. This is to show that often the hidden meaning behind a euphemism is not difficult to get at.
Step 4. Negative euphemisms. Euphemisms can be made by saying that something is not the opposite of what it really is. E.g. Not the most fascinating meeting. Go through the examples together then ask students to use not/no euphemisms in the follow-up situations.
Step 5. Divide students into pairs and give each student the left or right half of the roleplay cards. Give students a minute or two to jot down some ideas for their B scenarios. Then have them roleplay the situations. At the end get them to swap halves with their partner and then find another partner to do the roleplay again.
Homework. Try and find other examples of euphemistic speech on the internet, in corporate emails etc.