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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines the benefits of a linguistic landscape studies approach for the broader study of language and sexuality. Chinese martial arts films, often described as highly masculine and dominated by male heroes and male characters, are a rich site for the analysis of the social construction of gender and sexuality, particularly in the way they portray an idealized male dominance through Confucian ideologies. These films are thus viewed as a legitimate space, albeit fictional and mediatized, for the application of a linguistic landscape perspective. Based on samples of over 200 films, the analysis argues that features in the linguistic landscapes of these films—among them referential names of landmarks and material constructions of settings and costumes—semiotically mark the gender and sexuality of the martial arts practitioner characters. Most notably, the linguistic landscapes in these films glorify celibacy—or controlled asexuality—as an ideal practice that goes along with ultimate masculinity, as seen in the homosocial rejection of romance and celebration of chastity.

Keywords: linguistic landscapes, masculinity, celibacy, controlled asexuality, Chinese martial arts films, space

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