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date: 22 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of research on language and sexual stigma. Sexual stigma is defined as the sociolinguistic and psychological process by which a person or group’s physiological characteristics, cultural and linguistic practices, and/or identities become marked as polluted or taboo. The chapter suggests that sexual stigma tends to target those people or groups associated with practices felt to threaten ideologically normative social reproduction, which is encoded in conventions of linguistic markedness. Sexual stigma is linked to the fluid boundaries between grammatically encoded markedness and discursive indexicality as normative categories emerge in interpersonal encounters. The chapter addresses four key topics in the study of language and sexual stigma: sociolinguistic markedness; taboo and threats to ideologies of social reproduction; avoidance and indirection as strategies of linguistic containment of threats; and emergent sexualities.

Keywords: avoidance, emergence, markedness, play, stigma, taboo

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