Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
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This paper furthers the goal of “queering lexicography” (Nossem 2018) by proposing a theoretical approach to analysing dictionary definitions that replaces the traditional descriptive/prescriptive binary with a model of normativity influenced by performativity theory. This is demonstrated by a critical discourse analysis of how entries for , and in four contemporary English dictionaries tacitly position as a neutral term against which and are sociolinguistically marked. The paper also stresses the need for researchers not only to analyse how normativity is embedded in dictionaries, but to recognize the extent to which lay dictionary-users are already aware of the normative potential of lexicography, whether they embrace it or condemn it. This is explored through an incident in which addition of the word to its online dictionary in 2016 became the subject of public scrutiny and contestation on social media.


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