Latest Issue: Vol 10, No 2 (2016) 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

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
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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
three issues a year
ISSN: 1747-6321 (print)
ISSN: 1747-633X (online)

Abstracting & Indexing
The journal is covered by:

  • Social Sciences Citation Index/Social Scisearch Impact Factor 2015 = 0.267©       
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  • Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Current Contents/Arts & Humanities
  • Scopus Abstract and Citation Database  H-Index: 3 (2015); SJR: .159
  • 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)

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    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...

    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...

    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...

    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


    A discursive approach to structural gender linguistics: theoretical and methodological considerations

    This article addresses the current marginalisation of structural gender linguistics within the field of language and gender. Traditional, structuralist-minded approaches to language and gender are briefly reviewed, and it is argued that a revitalisation of the study of gendered language structures can only be achieved when such analyses reflect recent theoretical developments within the field. More specifically, this necessitates a reconceptualisation of (gendered) language structures in the light of discursive or poststructuralist theories, namely as the result of processes of discursive materialisation in language use. Also discussed at a methodological level is how de-essentialisation as a central driving force of discursive approaches to language and gender can be operationalised in various types of structural linguistic analysis. Four basic dimensions of deessentialisation are distinguished for this purpose: first, the contrastive linguistic dimension (de-essentialisation across languages); second, the historical linguistic dimension (de-essentialisation across time periods); third, the lexicogrammatical dimension (de-essentialisation across linguistic gender categories); and fourth, the pragmatic dimension (de-essentialisation across usage contexts). A contrastive sample analysis of the complexities of pronominalisation in English and German complements the discussion.
    Posted: 2015-05-21More...

    A matter of style: gender and subject variation in Spanish

    The construction of sex/gender as a dynamic set of values in communicative interaction is a matter of ever growing interest, superseding traditional approaches based on socio-structural and/or biological factors. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between the statistical patterning of linguistic choices across genders and the meaningful use of such elements in particular contexts. The main hypothesis is that large-scale patterns of variation are tightly connected to the dynamics of specific interaction: speakers are to some extent aware of the typical association of linguistic variants with social groups and interactional domains. In turn, their creative stylistic choices can help maintain or alter such associations. The variable expression of several Spanish subject pronouns is quantitatively and qualitatively analysed. The results indicate that male discourse usually shows higher rates of expressed subject pronouns, while women are more inclined to omission. But there are also differences in their respective preference for particular grammatical subjects, with men promoting the use of the singular first person and women that of the second one. A relationship is suggested between gendered styles and the discursive–cognitive continuum from objectivity to subjectivity, this being projected on a wide range of communicative possibilities.
    Posted: 2015-04-17More...

    ‘That’s what I call a man’: representations of racialised and classed masculinities in the UK print media

    According to Connell (1995), "being a man" involves actively positioning one's self in relation to culturally dominant images of masculinity. Yet, crucially, these images change depending on the social and historical context. In this paper, we examine contemporary discourses of masculinity as they are represented in the British press. In particular, we focus on the ways in which masculine representations are both racialized and classed, and how they are positioned in relation to one another within a broader ideological field of gender and power. Analyses are based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a large corpus (35.5 million words) of newspaper articles on masculinity that appeared in the UK between 2003 and 2011. Our findings underscore the importance of adopting an intersectional approach to the study of language and masculinity, and provide support for recent critical re-evaluations of the foundational concept of hegemonic masculinity.
    Posted: 2015-03-20More...

    Language learning and the gendered self: the case of French and masculinity in a US context

    In a time of ever-increasing globalisation, the development of diverse linguistic skills has been growing in importance despite a trend of reduced language learning, which is particularly marked in Anglophone countries. Although the need for international interaction is not gender-specific, a growing body of literature has identified gender-related differences in language education. Existing research has demonstrated that different target languages have been gendered by students in different ways. Extending the existing literature, focused primarily on adolescents, a survey was administered to 294 students at four universities in the southeastern US to explore the degree to which young adults perceive languages as gendered and to which taking French is perceived as gender-norm violating. Findings suggest that although there are some similarities in terms of the gendering of languages and language study among adolescent and young adult learners, differences exists in the nature of this gendering.
    Posted: 2015-03-20More...

    Girls strike back: the politics of parody in an indigenous TV comedy

    The diversification of the media has opened up new spaces for performances that seek not only to evoke laughter but also to voice social critique. One example of this development is the TV comedy show Märät säpikkäät/Njuoska bittut, created by two young women belonging to the indigenous Sámi people living in Finland. This paper focuses on one particularly critical sketch in the show: a counter-parody of a popular parody of the Sámi presented by two Finnish male comedians. The original sketch was a parody of ethnicity. As they strike back, however, the female presenters consciously foreground the categories of gender and class, thereby introducing a completely new figure: a white, urban, underclass woman. In this paper we draw on intersectionality and indexicality to analyse this multidimensional performance and its intertextual links to the original sketch. We ask, what do these insurgent discursive practices mean in terms of critique? What do they do under cover of laughter?
    Posted: 2015-02-13More...


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