Can you tell someone's sexuality from the way they speak?

Hazenberg, Evan (2020) Can you tell someone's sexuality from the way they speak? In: Bauer, Laurie and Calude, Andreea S (eds.) Questions about language: what everyone should know about language in the 21st Century. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780367175009

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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.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: English, language and sexuality, language variation, sociophonetics, sociolinguistics
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ0012 Sexual life
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0040 Relation to sociology. Sociolinguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
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Depositing User: Evan Hazenberg
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2021 02:00

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