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.