Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Lavender Linguistics and the Discourse in Online Sapphic Communities

Lavender Linguistics and the Discourse in Online Sapphic Communities

Noelle Belanger

Lavender Linguistics defines the linguistics used to study the cultural aspects of the LGBTQ+ community, including the use of language, slang, jargon, and discourse. There are many different cultural aspects of the LGBTQ+ community due to the wide range of identities and the many experiences that make up its many different members, and the use of linguistics can help us better understand how people in the LGBTQ+ community can relate to each other, as well as how they survive and live within societies that are cisgender and heteronormative. Each identity represented in the LGBTQ+ community has its own set of sub-cultures and discourse; this study focuses on the linguistics surrounding the Sapphic members of the community, especially in online spaces. “Sapphic” is a word that derives from the name of the ancient Greek poet Sappho: a woman who lived on the island of Lesbos from 630-570 BCE, known for writing love poetry about other women, and over the course of time, her namesake, Sapphic, along with the name of her home, Lesbos, have been associated with women who are attracted to other women, which includes: lesbian women, bisexual women, pansexual women, and gay/queer women. In online spaces, we can see how linguistics in the Sapphic community has been used to analyze political and social discourse, as well as the discussion of identities and experiences specific to that of the different sexualities that fall under the Sapphic label. Analyzing these examples of Sapphic linguistics in online spaces can help us understand the linguistics that play out in the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, and how it operates within heteronormative society.

April 12, 2021 - Posted by | abstract

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