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Language and Sexuality cover

Language and Sexuality

Contesting Meaning in Theory and Practice

edited by Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, Robert J.Podesva, Sarah J.Roberts, and Andrew Wong

This book explores the question of how linguistic practices and language ideologies relate to sexuality and sexual identity, centering particularly on the negotiation of meaning. The essays in the volume focus on theory as well as actual patterns of language use, drawing on work in a variety of fields, including sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, and queer theory.

The first half of the volume is devoted to a theoretical discussion of an emerging and currently very popular field known by many names, among them queer linguistics, language and sexuality, and language and desire. Inspired in part by a panel discussion (called The Future of Queer Linguistics) at the inaugural International Gender and Language Association (IGALA) conference held at Stanford University, the papers comprising this section delve into issues like the current status of the field, the field's object of study, and the role queer theory should have in sociolinguistic analysis. Featuring commentaries from the pioneers of language and sexuality studies, this section will likely set the tone for the next wave of research in this field.

The second half of Language and Sexuality moves from theory into practice, examining language use in a wide variety of cultural settings: to name a few, obscene magic spells among the Petalangan people of Indonesia, script variation among Japanese lesbians and housewives, narratives of heterosexuality among American college fraternity men, the phonetics characterizing a gay lawyer's performance of identity, the creation of a lesbian community through personals in a French magazine, and the semantic derogation of the term tongzhi in a Hong Kong newspaper.

Language and Sexuality brings the perspectives of the foremost scholars in the field together with exciting new research in language and sexuality, promising an engaging mix of theory and practice and presenting new ideas on the ways in which language use intersects with sexual identity.

Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, Robert J.Podesva, Sarah J.Roberts, and Andrew Wong were graduate students at Stanford University at the time of this publication.


  • Contributors
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1 Speaking of Sex
    Andrew Wong, Sarah J. Roberts, and Katheryn Campbell-Kibler
  • Part 1: Contesting Meaning in Theory

  • 2 Is Queer Theory Important for Sociolinguistic Theory?
    Rusty Barrett
  • 3 Not Entirely in Support of a Queer Linguistic
    Bill Leap
  • 4 Queer Linguistics?
    Don Kulick
  • 5 A Matter of Interpretation: The ‘Future’ of ‘Queer Linguistics’
    Robin Queen
  • 6 The Future of Queer Linguistics
    Anna Livia
  • 7 Demystifying Sexuality and Desire
    Penelope Eckert
  • 8 Language, Sexuality and Political Economy
    Bonnie McElhinny
  • Part 2: Contesting Meaning in Practice

  • 9 Queering Semantics: Definitional Struggles
    Sally McConnell-Ginet
  • 10 The Semantic Derogation of Tongzhi: A Synchronic Perspective
    Andrew Wong
  • 11 Sharing Resources and Indexing Meanins in the Production of Gay Styles
    Robert J. Podesva, Sarah J. Roberts and Kathryn Campbell-Kibler
  • 12 Camionneuses s'abstenir: Lesbian Community Creation Through the Personals
    Anna Livia
  • 13 Identity and Script Variation: Japanese Lesbian and Housewife Letters to the Editor
    Heidi Frank
  • 14 Skirting Around: Towards an Understanding of HIV/AIDS Educational Materials in Modern Israeli Hebrew
    Harris Solomon
  • 15 Playing the Straight Man: Displaying and Maintaining Male Heterosexuality in Discourse
    Scott F. Kiesling
  • 16 ‘Open Desire, Close the Body’: Magic Spells, Desire and the Body Among the Petalangan Women in Indonesia
    Yoonhee Kang
  • Index


ISBN (Paperback): 1575863200 (9781575863207)
ISBN (Cloth): 1575863197 (9781575863191)
ISBN (Electronic): 1575869098 (9781575869094)

Subject: Language and languages--Sex differences; Sociolinguistics; Gays--Language

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