// new media class

Mayan Printz — Euphemizer

100 Pieces, 10 Variations — Summer 2011

The Euphemizer is a concept for a smartphone app and an open online vocabulary of euphemisms.

“A euphemism is a generally harmless word, name, or phrase that substitutes an offensive or suggestive one. Some euphemisms intend to amuse, while others intend to give positive appearances to negative events or even mislead entirely.” (Wikipedia)

Euphemisms are the white lies in our language that help get us through the day – they minimise the damage of sending the news when little Goldie the goldfish gets spilled from her jar, soften the blow when someone breaks up with us, transform our awkward calls for help into something half graceful, and our war crimes into misunderstandings.
It's quit clear what an “Awake?” SMS is actually asking and it's also quit clear that “friendly fire” is not so friendly but when and in which circumstances did we start to use them?
The SMS is a contemporary form, the 160-character poem. Its not an email, its not a phone call. It has it's own rules, but who invented them? Typing technology like auto-correct makes things easier and faster, but who decides that I meant to say “duck” instead of “fuck”? If technology is going to structure our language, we might as well have an active hand in the process.

The Euphemizer app identify problematic words and controversial phrases in text messages and offers an alternative phrasing from the Euphemizer vocabulary which update from the Euphemizer website. The Euphemizer website is a collaborative vocabulary of euphemisms, the site offers an open platform where everyone is invited to discuss and add new euphemized terms.
The vocabulary is aimed at becoming a living and changing resource for euphemisms as well as a dictionary that contain different definitions for euphemisms, there origin, background and evolution.