Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
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This paper explores how ten nonbinary North American YouTubers appeal to (van Leeuwen & Wodak 1999) as rationalizations for their choices regarding identity labels and pronouns. Given the local cultural salience of the implications of their language choices, the YouTubers rationalize their terminological choices through legitimizing discourses that prioritize , and . I examine how these discourses presuppose particular , or implicit assumptions about what language users view as “appropriate” language practices. In the case of the nonbinary YouTubers, I illustrate that the vloggers’ legitimizing discourses appeal to and juxtapose a referentialist ideology (Hill 2008Silverstein 1979), according to which words should describe the world truthfully, and an ideology of self-identification (Zimman 2019), which prioritizes individual agency. Crucially, deploying these legitimizing discourses is an important strategy that nonbinary YouTubers draw on as part of their advocacy and education projects.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse analysis; language ideology; legitimization; nonbinary; transgender; YouTube
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