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date: 19 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The aim of this chapter is to demonstrate the importance and necessity of bringing together the considerations of language and reproduction. While other topics of sexuality have aroused interest in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, the ideas, practices, and experiences of human reproduction, notably pregnancy, remain understudied. At the same time, a discussion of language has been largely absent from the anthropology of reproduction, which has emerged in the last twenty years as an especially vibrant area of cultural and social study. The chapter examines the metaphors and discourses in “talk about” reproduction; the interactions and “talk between” people, like pregnant women and medical health care providers, which shapes the ordinary experiences of reproduction; the “talk to” parties (specifically, fetuses and imagined children) who themselves become constituted through talk; and reproduction as literacy event or one that is mediated and experienced in relation to texts. It is asserted that language is a practice of reproduction.

Keywords: anthropology of reproduction, birth, fetus, linguistic anthropology, literacy, pregnancy, reproduction, sociolinguistics, talk

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