Latest Issue: Vol 12, No 3 (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

    Journal Impact Factor 2018: 0.286 (Clarivate Analytics, 2017 data)

    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


    Abjection and condemnation: media representations of a transgender criminal in Brazil

    This study investigates a series of news reports of a well-publicised crime in Brazil where a transgender person was involved and implicitly evaluated and condemned by the semiotic resources used in the reporting of the event. Theoretical tools from critical discourse analysis, systemic functional grammar and multimodal theory are applied to the data in order to investigate how verbal and other semiotic resources interpret the story. The findings point to partiality and manipulation when it comes to supporting one of the sides involved in the crime to the detriment of the transgender social actress. Her nonnormative gender identity is represented as a core part of her criminal identity. Through these representations, the media reinforces bias and reproduces biased discourses against travestis, a community that constitutes a permanent zone of abjection, a process through which those deemed unintelligible are excluded by identificatory regimes to delimit the boundaries of the self.

    Posted: 2017-08-03More...

    Voices of the hero: dominant masculine ideologies through the speech of Japanese shōnen protagonists

    This paper examines diachronic changes in the pronoun use and phonetic performance of protagonists in shōnen anime, a genre of animated work that is aimed predominately at adolescent boys. Utilising nearly forty years of shōnen anime, this study constructs a diachronic analysis of first-person pronoun usage, the primary pragmatic index of gender performance in Japanese, as well as average pitch and pitch range, which are frequently cited as salient phonetic markers of gender performance but are understudied in this area with regard to language in media. By analysing the way that changes in masculinity structures are reflected in performance of fictional protagonists, this paper demonstrates the necessity for further research on language use, particularly by protagonists, in fictional media, as well as on the way that dominant language ideologies are reproduced and consumed in the popular culture market.

    Posted: 2017-07-14More...

    ‘She don’t need no help’: deconsolidating gender, sex and sexuality in New Orleans bounce music

    New Orleans bounce music is a dance-oriented hip-hop form that has emerged as a notably non-normative genre, in which queer Black bounce artists destabilise binary cultural paradigms and emphasise queerness as inclusive and relational. We explore how five artists' lyrics and public personae actively refute the consolidated, naturalised nexus of gender, sex, and sexuality by disentangling each of the three strands from one another. In order to explore how this is accomplished, we created a corpus of bounce lyrics. We analysed lexical indices of gender; self-positioning as feminine subjects; sexual subject-object positioning; normalisation of sex between men; retention of masculine subjectivities; and rejection of gender binarism. Further, the artists repeatedly expose the ubiquitous nature of sex between men in their lyrics, working to assert its existence and normalcy in the popular imagination. The bounce artists we analyse expose and articulate forms of deviance, expressing a blackness and queerness that insists on making visible the humanity and sexuality of Black people and queer people. Bounce music, made by queer people of colour, for an audience of predominantly poor, heterosexual women of colour, is a communitarian cultural labour.
    Posted: 2017-05-24More...

    ‘Something that stretches during sex’: replacing the word hymen with vaginal corona to challenge patriarchal views on virginity

    Although there is no scientific proof of a breakable membrane in the vagina, virginity controls are causing great suffering to women worldwide, and hymen (re) constructions are carried out in many countries. The hymen is called mödomshinna 'virginity membrane' in Swedish, which can reinforce the idea of a breakable membrane. In their work against female sexual oppression the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education launched a new term, vaginal corona. The aim of our study is to evaluate this initiative. By conducting a survey directed at youths and health professionals at youth clinics in Stockholm, we were able to show that knowledge of the new word had spread and that changes in the oppressive cultural beliefs connected to virginity and female sexuality in part can be connected to the word. The study thus supports the claim that initiatives aimed at changing vocabulary can be effective in changing cultural concepts. Feminist language activism initiatives are thus usable as part of feminist political work to promote women’s sexual rights and gender equality.

    Posted: 2017-04-20More...

    The origin of sexism in language

    Although previous work on sexist linguistic structures has identified the causes of sexism in language as stemming from an androcentric world view, it has not described the social and semiotic processes involved in the historic production and reproduction of this kind of linguistic sexism. This article uses the three processes of iconisation, fractal recursivity, and erasure to bring together what appear to be disparate phenomena (such as the masculine generic, and even the very existence of the feminine grammatical gender) into a unifying theory. Iconisation results in the binary division of humanity into females and males; fractal recursivity explains how this division was projected onto language; and erasure demonstrates how certain discourses have been ignored, to the profit of others. A Queer critique of the two concepts of binarity and markedness (which arise as a result of iconisation) opens up exciting new ways to approach sexism in language, and to revitalise research in this area.
    Posted: 2017-03-13More...


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