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LESSON PLAN: EUPHEMISMS

Subject: English

Grade: 9-12

Brief Description

Students will look at how language can be manipulated to soften the impact of what is happening.

Objectives

  • Students will consider Nazi euphemisms.
  • Students will find and collect euphemisms used today.

Key words

Euphemism, manipulate, deportation, annihilation, propaganda

Lesson Plan

Nazis used euphemisms to hide or blur the reality of what they were doing. Here are some examples:

What they said What it meant

Deportation Traveling to concentration camps and killing center

Police Actions Round ups that often lead to mass murder

Final Solution The planned annihilation of every Jew in Europe

Find five examples of euphemisms in a newspaper, a news magazine, or on the Internet. Good places to start are stories about military action, business news, and the obituaries.

Assessment

Read your list to the class and listen as they read theirs. Talk about the purpose of the euphemisms? Why is the language is being manipulated this way. As the reader, how does that make you feel?

Discussion Questions

  • What is the difference between euphemisms and propaganda?
  • In what ways are they the same?

Click here for a printable version of this lesson plan.