By Heiko Motschenbacher

This ebook makes an leading edge contribution to the fairly younger box of Queer Linguistics. Subscribing to a poststructuralist framework, it provides a serious, deconstructionist standpoint at the discursive development of heteronormativity and gender binarism from a linguistic perspective. at the one hand, the publication offers an summary of Queer ways to problems with language, gender and sexual identity Read more...

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Extra info for Language, gender and sexual identity : poststructuralist perspectives

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Bybee & Hopper 2001: 3) More recently, Makoni & Pennycook (2007) have suggested more explicitly that the notion of ‘a language’ is the product of discursive construction. They show . Interestingly, Hopper’s theorisation has been fruitfully linked to Derrida’s (see Weber 1997), which points to its compatibility with poststructuralist thinking. Chapter 3. Queer approaches in linguistic research  that much of contemporary linguistics is affected by a metadiscursive regime that treats languages as clearly separable and therefore countable entities.

So far, Queer Linguistic discussions exhibit a Western bias (with the notable exception of some ethnographic studies devoted to non-Western cultures; compare, for example, Hall & O’Donovan 1996 on the hijras in India, Gaudio 2001 on the ‘yan daudu in Nigeria or Besnier 2003 on the fakaleiti in Tonga). Research on Western languages and cultures needs to be complemented with more contrastive analyses of non-Western languages and cultures. g. morphology, lexicology, syntax). Poststructuralism poses a serious challenge for semantics, which traditionally has mainly dealt with the stable meaning of linguistic forms independently of any communication context.

As heteronormativity builds on gender binarism as a stabilising factor, Historical Linguistics can also investigate from a Queer point of view whether a bipolar gender construction as known for many, if not all of today’s languages was also prevalent in earlier stages of the development of these languages, or whether gender binarism became more entrenched throughout their history. Cameron and Kulick (2003: 22), for example, discuss Latin sexual terminology in Ancient Rome to show that it was more tied to certain activities and body parts, rather than exclusively to the gender of the desired object.

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