Latest Issue: Vol 9, No 3 (2015) 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
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.

IGALA 9 -- May 2016 Hong Kong

See announcement  below for details for of the next IGALA international conference or visit conference site for more details. 

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
  • 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)
  • Equinox Publishing is an official WorldCat Partner. Our content is centrally indexed in OCLC’s WorldCat Local discovery service.

    IGALA 9 -- May 2016

    For general inquires, please contact:General Inquiries

    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

    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 bit too skinny for me: women’s homosocial constructions of heterosexual desire in online dating

    Using the notion of homosocial desire, this article explores how homosociality ties into heterosexual desire in an online dating context. During the past two decades, the number of users has increased rapidly and online dating today forms a key context for negotiating romantic relations. Thus, online dating prac-tices are rich fields for investigating the workings of desire. Based on audiovisual recordings of two Danish female friends engaging in online dating activities, this article demonstrates how participants, through joint stance-taking, co-construct shared desire and adjust individually-produced desire to create homosocial affiliation. Hence, in this case, heterosexual desire construction is a collabora-tive undertaking generated through homosocial bonding. The performed desire carries a strong physical focus, partly produced by the participants’ attention to bodily detail and partly through the dating site’s visual design. The article concludes by arguing for the incorporation of attention to homosocial aspects in research into heterosexual desire.
    Posted: 2014-09-30More...

    Language reform: a critical look at its chances of success in the Spanish context

    In order to establish the impact of antisexist language proposals on the Spanish language, questionnaires were administered to discover factors that can obstruct or facilitate the elimination of linguistic sexism. Issues that were investigated included speakers’ perceptions about sexism in Spanish, speakers’ opinions about the relevance of language reform and speakers’ reaction to antisexist lan-guage proposals. Despite the challenges faced by feminist linguistic campaigns, some positive changes in reactions to nonsexist language suggestions were found. This paper reveals that these changes are encouraging indicators of the potential success of language reform attempts. 
    Posted: 2014-09-09More...

    Are verbs politically correct? A corpus study of gender in Russian verbs

    In Russian, the past tense form of a verb contains a gender marker agreeing with the subject. This gives us a unique opportunity to explore the verbs’ distribution by gender, using the relation between forms with feminine and masculine endings as the basis for a fem:masc ratio. The present study shows that an average Russian verb in the Russian National Corpus has three masculine past tense forms for each feminine past tense form. This article explores verbs at the two extremes of the fem:masc scale: the top 100 primarily masculine verbs and the top 100 primarily feminine verbs. These groups of verbs provide a concrete basis for assessing cultural stereotypes associated with gender.
    Posted: 2014-09-09More...

    Talk in feminised occupations: exploring male nurses’ linguistic behaviour

    It is widely accepted amongst scholars that gender is socially constructed. Gender identity is not something one has but does, and language is one resource that is crucial when constructing, maintaining and performing one’s identity. Recent sociolinguistic research has illustrated that a speaker’s linguistic behaviour can be shaped by their surrounding context, and one such ever-growing area of study is that of workplace discourse, especially within jobs which could be classified as gendered. Scholars have focused mainly on women’s linguistic behaviour in non-traditional employment (i.e. police, engineers, Information Technology). To date, there has been relatively little research into the linguistic behaviour of men working in occupations seen as ‘women’s’ work (i.e. nursing, primary school teaching). To address this gap, this article focuses on men’s discursive behaviour in the occupation of nursing to investigate whether they utilise language to perform a masculine identity in line with hegemonic characteristics, or whether they use the language indexical of the feminised environment in which they work. Empirical data, collected by three male nurse participants specifically within nurse-nurse interactions whilst at work in a Northern Ireland hospital, is explored using discourse analysis and the Community of Practice paradigm. Results indicate that the male nurses’ discursive behaviour does not differ from that which sociolinguistic literature has repeatedly classed as ‘feminine’. It is then argued that the nurses’ language fulfils discourse tasks essential to the work role. In short, the men are doing being a nurse.
    Posted: 2014-08-26More...

    Ideologies of masculinity in women’s magazines: a critical stylistic approach

    This article reports on an analysis of ideologies of masculinity in a corpus of women’s magazines from a (feminist) critical stylistic perspective. I identify four core themes of ideologies of masculinity produced via assumed and implied meanings. My discussion of these themes demonstrates how the texts’ constructions of masculinity ultimately uphold gender dichotomies, denying a performative understanding of ‘gender’ in a post-structuralist age. The ideologies discussed have potentially negative implications for female readers, because they serve to maintain notions of gender difference and uphold the power differential between women and men.
    Posted: 2014-08-22More...


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