Hazenberg_LQ_chapter8.pdf (196.79 kB)
Can you tell someone's sexuality from the way they speak?
chapterposted on 2023-06-09, 18:45 authored by Evan Hazenberg
Most people are interested to some extent in language and gender, and more specifically, in language and (homo)sexuality. The perceptual resonance between social identities and language use has given rise to a number of stereotypes, particularly around men who “sound gay”. Interestingly, there are far fewer stereotypes around women who “sound lesbian”, although the realization of gay male and lesbian identities through speech likely draws on a similar range of linguistic phenomena. Our perception of people’s social (and sexual) identities is filtered by our social and cultural expectations, and what we hear and what we think we hear are not always the same thing. The performative nature of sexuality makes the interface of language and identity socially and linguistically complex, and linguistic exploration of this interface tells us not only about the social presentation of sexuality, but also about how we make meaning out of the language variation that surrounds us.
- Accepted version
Book titleQuestions about language: what everyone should know about language in the 21st Century
Place of publicationLondon
Department affiliated with
- English Publications
Full text available