Tuesday, 2018/11/13, 16:30
Though not a focus of the earliest work in the paradigm, sexuality has become a prominent topic of investigation in variationist sociolinguistics over the past 25 years. In this talk, I provide an overview of three approaches to the study of sexuality and variation that have emerged over this time: a correlational approach, which attempts to identify patterns of variation specific to different sexual identity groups; a constructionist approach, which examines how speakers make strategic use of variation to construct sexuality through speech; and an emergentist approach, which considers how gender- and sexuality-linked meanings emerge through the use of particular variable patterns in different interactional contexts. I discuss how these different approaches dovetail with broader developments in variationist theory, and in particular how recent work on style and stance has enhanced variationist treatments of sexuality. I also discuss the benefits of variationist analysis to our understanding of sexuality as a social and linguistic phenomenon more generally.