Latest Issue: Vol 12, No 1 (2018) RSS2 logo

Gender and Language

Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom and Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil

Tommaso M. Milani
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Book Review Editor
Cecilia Chiacchio
Send Books for Review to:
Gender & Language/Reviews
Departamento de Lenguas y Literaturas Modernas (A118)
Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación
Universidad Nacional de La Plata
Calle 51 e/ 124 y 125 /(1925) Ensenada, Prov. Bs As

Open Access Virtual Issue Now Available!

We are very pleased to announce that our first FREE TO DOWNLOAD Virtual Special Issue, “Corpus Approaches to Gender and Language”(V1, 2013), edited by Paul Baker, is now available to access here.

About the Journal

There are many journals focused on gender and many devoted to language. Most of these sometimes publish articles on language and gender. There is, however, currently no single scholarly journal to which those interested in gender and language can turn as contributors looking for an audience sharing their focus or as readers seeking a reliable source for on-going discussions in the field. Gender and Language fills the gap by offering an international forum for research on and debates about feminist research on gender and language.Gender and Language showcases research on femininities and masculinities, on heterosexual and queer identities, on gender at the level of individual performance or perception and on gender at the level of institutions and ideologies.

As a point of departure, Gender and Language defines gender along two key dimensions. First, gender is a key element of social relationships often loosely linked to perceived differences between the sexes. Gender relations are encoded in linguistic and symbolic representations, normative concepts, social practices, institutions and social identities. Second, gender is a primary arena for articulating power, intersecting in complex ways with other axes of inequality, like class, race, and sexuality. Gender is understood as multi-faceted, always changing, and often contested: the editors welcome discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of competing definitions of gender and of new analytical perspectives.

The journal encourages discussion and debate about the implications of different definitions of gender and different approaches to analyzing the production and interpretation of texts and speech. It welcomes research employing a range of linguistic approaches (e.g. conversation analysis, discourse and text analysis, ethnography of communication, pragmatics, variationist sociolinguistics, interactional sociolinguistics, stylistics) and from a variety of disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, women and gender studies, education, philosophy, psychology, folklore, sociology, communication studies, queer studies, literary and cultural studies, as it aims to foster interdisciplinary discussion and dialogue among these disciplines.

Publication Frequency
four issues a year from 2017
ISSN: 1747-6321 (print)
ISSN: 1747-633X (online)

Abstracting & Indexing
The journal is covered by:

  • Social Sciences Citation Index      
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index
  • Journal Citation Reports/Social Sciences Edition
  • Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Current Contents/Arts & Humanities
  • Scopus Abstract and Citation Database  
  • Linguistics Abstracts
  • Educational Research Abstracts Online
  • MLA Bibliography
  • Bibliography of Linguistic Literature (BIBL)
  • SocIndex with FullTEXT
  • Linguistics and Language Behaviour Abstracts
  • Feminist Periodicals: A Current Listing of Contents
  • European Reference Index (ERIH Plus)

  • Metrics

    Impact Factor (without self-cites) 2016: 0.281

    H Index: 3

    CiteScore 2016: 0.31

    SRJ 2015:0.159

    SNIP 2015: 1.039

    For general inquires, please contact:General Inquiries

    Most Viewed Articles


    Do bodies matter? Travestis' embodiment of (trans)gender identity through the manipulation of the Brazilian Portuguese grammatical gender system

    This study investigates Southern Brazilian travestis’ manipulation of gender identity through the manipulation of the Portuguese grammatical gender system. We argue that
    the embodiment of feminine features onto biologically male bodies enables travestis to wander through various ideologies about masculinity and femininity and incorporate these ideologies in their linguistic construction of identity. Travestis use masculine forms to refer to themselves or other travestis when: (1) producing narratives about the time before their body transformations took place; (2) reporting speech produced by others when talking about travestis; (3) talking about themselves within their family relationships; and, perhaps the most unveiling category, (4) distinguishing
    themselves from ‘other’ travestis they do not identify with – a face-saving strategy. Thus, the study shows how southern Brazilian travestis use the grammatical gender
    system in Portuguese as a linguistic resource to manipulate their identity/ies and the identity/ies of the community they belong to.
    Posted: 2007-01-18More...

    Social constructionism, postmodernism and feminist sociolinguistics

    This article argues that it is time to put women back at the centre of language and gender research. Following a discussion of some issues with social constructionist
    and postmodernist approaches to the analysis of gendered social interaction, a case is made for identifying general (often repressive or constricting) patterns based on
    analyses using a detailed ethnographic approach. More specifically, the paper outlines the advantages of using a community of practice approach to analysing workplace discourse, providing evidence of the ‘gender order’, the repressive ideology which ensures that deviations from gender norms (by women or men) entail penalties. It is argued
    that such an approach provides a means of identifying discursive behaviours which penalise women in many workplace contexts on the one hand, while documenting a
    range of active discursive ways of resisting sexist behaviours on the other.
    Posted: 2007-01-18More...

    Zuiqian 'deficient mouth': Discourse, gender and domestic violence

    This article examines the relationship between language, gender and domestic violence.
    Contextualizing the study of domestic violence in China, this article focuses
    its analysis on a metapragmatic discourse on domestic violence – zuiqian ‘deficient
    mouth’ in a working-class community in Beijing. It argues that the discourse of zuiqian,
    by blaming women’s mouths and their ‘deviant’ speaking styles, individualizes
    the serious social problem of domestic violence and downplays the structural force
    that causes male violence. By fragmenting women and regulating their mouths, the
    discourse of zuiqian serves as an anatomic mode of power (anatomo-politics) for the
    state to discipline women and safeguard society. Also, this discourse constitutes a repudiating site (i.e. a site at which subjects are condemned or criticized in order for them to emerge) to construct the kind of subject identified with China’s neoliberal agenda. This study shows that both language and gender can be engaged as either anatomic modes of power or repudiating sites for subjectivity formation in the broader political and economic transformations of the process of globalization. In the context of neoliberalism, the private, the individual and the body have become the bases for
    political legitimacy.
    Posted: 2007-01-18More...

    Can the term "genderlect" be saved? A postmodernist re-definition.

    This article is an attempt to reclaim the term "genderlect" as a valuable sociolinguistic concept. It shows that "genderlect" in its traditional sense as a variety according to speaker sex is just as much a myth as are early sociolinguistic theorisations of "women's/men's language". From a postmodernist perspective, genderlects must be seen as stereotypical resources for gendered stylisation practices that are not to be equalled with how women and men actually speak. This is illustrated by using material from a comprehensive study on linguistic gender stylisation in advertising discourse. Moreover, it is suggested that the strictly binary genderlect concept is abandoned and replaced by another one that sees genderlects as heavily context-dependent, community-based and therefore infinite in number. A postmodernist genderlect concept should be able to deal with hegemonic as well as subversive gender styles and at the same time acknowledge that what is generally judged to be hegemonic in one context might be subversive in another (or vice versa).
    Posted: 2007-07-14More...

    Putting communities of practice in their place

    The study of language, gender, and sexuality has enthusiastically embraced the concept community of practice. Now the field needs to take the concept further in two directions: (1) The comparative direction examines different but similar kinds of communities of practice to explore generalizations about how practice contributes
    to the linguistic construction of gender and sexuality; (2) The relational direction locates communities of practice in relation to a world beyond – to other communities of practice, to social networks, to institutions (e.g. schools, churches, prisons), and to more global imagined communities (e.g. nations, women). For each direction, we mention
    exemplary studies, emphasizing that the construct community of practice does not offer new analytic units or replace other concepts, but provides fresh perspectives
    on familiar social units and enriches analyses drawing on other analytic concepts. Only an interdisciplinary research community where researchers connect their work
    can put communities of practice in their proper place.
    Posted: 2007-01-18More...

    Recent Articles


    Is Serbian becoming Croatian? Nationalist counter-reactions to feminist linguistics in Serbia

    The paper investigates how nationalism (which flourished since the disintegration of Yugoslavia) and Serbo-Croatian language unity is instrumentalised to block the debates on sexist language in Serbia. Serbian feminists criticise current language practices as being sexist by making women linguistically invisible or rather exclusively visible in stereotypical contexts with only little social prestige. They challenge the supposedly gender-neutrality of so called ‘masculine generics’ and demand a consistent use of gender-specific forms for females. On the contrary, traditional Serbian linguists deny any discriminatory language patterns claiming that nouns for males can be used for females as well because of the ‘nature’ or ‘spirit’ of the Serbian language. Beside those arguments known from similar debates which have been held for other languages, the Serbian anti-feminist discourses on gender and language are even specific: Several gender-specific female nouns are found not to be Serbian but Croatian and should therefore not be used in Serbia. The proposals of feminists for non-sexist language are even accused of endangering Serbian national integrity by turning the Serbian language into Croatian – ignoring the fact that Serbian and Croatian share most of their lexicon being successor languages of Serbo-Croatian.
    Posted: 2017-02-15More...

    Negotiating the tall poppy syndrome in New Zealand workplaces: women leaders managing the challenge

    The ‘tall poppy syndrome’ (TPS) is one example of a societal constraint whose function in Australasia is to enforce society-wide ideologies such as egalitarianism and the gender order. The TPS acts as an enforcement mechanism which keeps self-promoting discourse in check. While carefully managed selfpromotion is permissible in some contexts, there are others where New Zealanders are expected to behave with modesty and humility. Using a social realist approach and drawing on data from four different professional contexts (a commercial company, a medical clinic, a government department and a nongovernmental organisation), this paper explores the discursive instantiation of the TPS in combination with potentially competing leader and gender identities as experienced by New Zealand women leaders. Finally, we ask if the pressure to conform to the egalitarian ethic, alongside other downplaying strategies, is gendered in New Zealand workplaces.


    Posted: 2016-12-29More...

    ‘Good mums don’t, apparently, wear make-up’: negotiating discourses of gendered parenthood in Mumsnet Talk

    This article explores the discourses and related subject positions that are negotiated by contributors to the discussion forum of a popular British parenting website, Mumsnet Talk. Drawing on analysis of a single thread posted to this forum, I explore the ways in which participants, who present themselves as women and as parents, negotiate dominant discourses of gendered parenthood that position them as ‘mothers’, and often, by association, as the primary caregiver, who is defined and positioned exclusively in relation to children. I also show that contributors use a range of linguistic and digital resources to challenge such discourses, and that their resistance can be facilitated, at times, by the affordances of the forum itself. The potential to connect with a large community of Mumsnet users, for example, is identified as a powerful resource at their disposal. Overall, I find that Mumsnet Talk is a fruitful site for negotiating, resisting and subverting socio-cultural norms and expectations, but that it remains difficult here, as elsewhere, for women to escape dominant discourses that work to position them in restrictive gendered subject positions.

    Posted: 2016-12-29More...

    ‘Earrings and shields’: metaphor and gendered discourses in female genital mutilation songs in Kuria, Kenya

    Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a global issue affecting women and girls in different parts of the world. Over 140 million girls and women have undergone FGM worldwide. In the UK, 130,000 girls and women live with the consequences of FGM (Reid 2014). In Kuria region of Kenya, 96% of women and girls have undergone FGM (Oloo et al 2010) despite its illegal status. FGM has been approached from the religious, medical and human rights perspectives but the linguistic perspective has not yet been considered. Drawing on Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), this paper seeks to address the FGM issue from a linguistic perspective by analysing metaphors in female circumcision in Kuria Kenya. Focus is on how through discourse, gender inequalities are normalised and advanced within a sociocultural system and how this, in turn, contributes to legitimation of FGM. Findings show that metaphors function as discursive strategies for constructing and maintaining dominant patriarchal hegemonies and maintaining the status quo while reinforcing the perpetuation of FGM. I suggest that an understanding of the role of gender and discourse in FGM could influence efforts to end the practice and lead to positive change. 

    Posted: 2016-12-29More...

    ‘Girly Latina versus girly American’: the articulation of levels of femininity through indexicality in a Latina student’s narrative explaining discriminatory classroom interactions

    The construction of gender and race are constantly negotiated by community members, and both categories affect the way speakers see themselves and others. By analysing a Latina student’s narrative, this study explores how she articulates through the use of several indexical processes, not only her own identity but also her friend’s, in order to explain how their classmates perceive them. In this narrative, the speaker explains how different levels of femininity, ‘girly American’ versus ‘girly Latina’, affect the way Latinas are perceived and, in some cases, treated in discriminatory ways. This analysis finds that her articulation of different levels of femininity, and her arguments about how different stereotypes associated with Latinas may cause discrimination, shows how the construction of gender and race are interrelated and fluid, and how there are certain performances of gender more acceptable than others even within the heterosexual norm. This analysis shows how language practices are fundamental to create and circulate ideologies about gender and ethnicity, and how essential it is to understand these practices in order to recognise and challenge the discrimination faced by minority groups in the United States, especially women of colour.

    Posted: 2016-12-29More...


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