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Journal of Language and Sexuality

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ISSN 2211-3770
E-ISSN 2211-3789

<p>The <em>Journal of Language and Sexuality </em>aims to present research on the discursive formations of sexuality, including sexual desire, sexual identities, sexual politics and sexuality in diaspora. Of interest is linguistic work in the widest possible sense, including work in sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics, pragmatics, semantics, discourse analysis, applied linguistics, and other modes of language-centered inquiry that will contribute to the investigation of discourses of sexuality and their linguistic and social consequences. On a theoretical level, the journal is indebted to Queer Linguistics as its major influence.</p>


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  • Hegemonic masculinity and the variability of gay-sounding speech: The perceived sexuality of transgender men
    • Author: Lal Zimman
    • Source: Journal of Language and Sexuality, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2013, pages: 1 –39
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    • Sociophonetic inquiry into sexuality and the voice has often focused on the perception of men’s sexuality on the basis of disembodied voices. However, inconsistencies across these studies limit our ability to unite their findings into a cohesive model of gay-sounding speech. This paper focuses on variability among gay-sounding speakers by analyzing the voices of female-to-male transgender individuals, or trans men. Trans men who make use of testosterone typically experience a significant drop in vocal pitch, yet may maintain stylistic traits acquired while living in a female social role. An acoustic and perceptual analysis of trans and non-trans men’s voices reveals that even as trans men may be perceived as gay-sounding, their sociolinguistic styles also differ from those of gay-sounding non-trans men. These findings support the notion that gay-sounding speech does not constitute a single phonetic style, but rather numerous deviations from the hegemonic norm.
  • 'I think Houston wants a kiss right?': Linguistic constructions of heterosexualities at Eurovision Song Contest press conferences
    • Author: Heiko Motschenbacher
    • Source: Journal of Language and Sexuality, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2012, pages: 127 –150
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    • This article provides an ethnographically based discourse analysis of linguistic practices of heterosexual construction in a transnational media context, Eurovision Song Contest press conferences. It aims to shed light on how research on heterosexualities can contribute to the critical discussion of heteronormativity as commonly found in Queer Linguistics. The analysis identifies the following patterns of heterosexual construction: 1. talk about spouses, partners and family, 2. talk about heterosexual love song lyrics, 3. binary gender polarisation, and 4. the projecting of heteronormative desire onto participants. This order roughly corresponds to an increase in the heteronormative force of the constructions found. More blatant forms of heteronormative enforcement prove to cause negative reactions in this community of practice. It is argued that the sexual constructions documented incorporate aspects of both sexual identity and desire and that the transnational salience of the context facilitates a stronger confrontation of heterosexual construction with alternative discourses.
  • “But I’m attracted to women”: Sexuality and sexual identity performance in interactional discourse among bisexual students
    • Author: Lisa Thorne
    • Source: Journal of Language and Sexuality, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2013, pages: 70 –100
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    • This paper examines the understudied and stigmatized sexual category of “bisexuality” as it emerges in the discourse of bisexuals at a California university. Building on the concepts of performance and “doing” identity presented by Butler (2006 [1990]), Goffman (1990 [1959]), and West and Zimmerman (1987), an outline is offered for how bisexuals, who are made invisible by the hetero/homo binary, may build an intelligible social performance of their identity and sexuality. Utilizing methods from within sociocultural linguistics (i.e., “the broad interdisciplinary field concerned with the intersection of language, culture, and society” [Bucholtz & Hall 2005: 586]), this paper uses ethnographic observations and video-recorded social interaction in order to analyze how bisexuality is performed in social contexts, with a focus on its performance in discourse. The paper closes with a critique of the ways that normativity operates alongside efforts at social resistance and an exploration of the relationship between different layers of sexuality.
  • Expanding the Queer Linguistic scene: Multimodality, space and sexuality at a South African university.
    • Author: Tommaso M. Milani
    • Source: Journal of Language and Sexuality, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2013, pages: 206 –234
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    • This paper investigates the relationships between gender, sexuality and space, understood both in material and discursive terms. To this end, it brings under the spotlight Safe Zones, an anti-homophobia campaign spearheaded in 2011 and 2012 by the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. More specifically, the paper draws upon Queer Linguistics in order to deconstruct a sample of banal sexed signs, produced as part of the campaign. Essentially, the argument is that Safe Zones contributed to changing, albeit fleetingly, the character of university corridors, notice boards and office doors. The campaign brought about a sexed visual environment, one in which the invoking of specific identities went hand in hand with the highlighting of more fluid practices and processes. Because of the multimodal nature of the data, the paper argues for the need for Queer Linguistics to engage with the no less meaningful visual and material properties of public texts.
  • Speech that silences, silences that speak: “That’s so gay,” “that’s so ghetto,” and safe space in High School
    • Author: Susan W. Woolley
    • Source: Journal of Language and Sexuality, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2013, pages: 292 –319
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    • This article questions what happens to “safe space” in classrooms when students are marginalized by their social locations and identities. Based on three years of ethnographic research in a Northern California urban public high school, the author examines how language like “that’s so gay” and “that’s so ghetto” leaves distinct traces of gender, sexuality, race, and class meanings and relations. Drawing on students’ deployment of “that’s so gay” and “that’s so ghetto” in school contexts, this research demonstrates how these expressions marginalize the students that they target. Such speech acts interpellate students’ bodies and identities in an educational environment that strives toward constructing “safe” and “politically correct” space. Complicating the very possibility of such educational goals, this article highlights the violence of performative speech acts while closely examining the thin line between politically correct speech and hate speech, which may look different yet lead to similar results — the violence of silencing.
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