Foredrag: Language & Sexuality

Yet another interesting guest lecture at the linguistics department. Costas Canakis from University of the Aegean will give a talk titled Articulating male homoerotic desires and subjectivities on the internet.

The lecture will be held February 17th, from 14:00 til 15:30 in room 1453-116.

Abstract below:

This study focuses on the language employed for self- and other-representation in online personal ads posted on www.gay.gr, a popular Greek site meant as a forum for “gay, lesbian, bi, and trans”, with the intention of examining aspects of the indexical relation between language, gender, and sexuality (Ochs 1992) among men who pursue same sex relations (i.e. of men who generally identify as homosexual, gay, or using local labels such as pustiδes, aδerfes). Although these ads provide limited information, as they lack the interactive character and thick contextualization of viva voce discourse, they nevertheless allow for highly condensed snapshots of stances and conceptualizations of masculinity and sexuality. Recent research, drawing on some 200 randomly selected ads, has focused specifically on the articulation of desire (cf. Kulick 2000, Cameron & Kulick 2003, 2006) and documented that stereotypical predicates of masculinity, such as manliness, seriousness, discretion, etc., are eroticized and sought after in this particular context. Moreover, in interpreting these findings, it has been suggested that the stress placed on masculinity among the users may well be a reaction to the stereotypical representation of gay men as effeminate (still current to some extent in Greece); an instance of transgressive appropriation of a hegemonic masculinity typically denied them. This line of work has focused on the erotic and abstained from a discussion of “identity” issues in order to avoid the pitfalls of illicit groupings and essentialization. However, revisiting the same pool of data, it becomes apparent that questions of the users’ “identity”/subjectivity are closely intertwined with desire. Indeed, in describing themselves, users talk of their desires while imparting information about who they are in general; and in explaining what they look for in others they tend to eroticize identities rather than sexual acts alone (cf. Bucholtz & Hall 2004). Crucially, rather than shying away from overtly sexual talk in the interest of constructing politically advantageous identities (or attempting simplistic one-to-one alignments of identities and desires), I will attempt to show how the construction of desire and “idenity” appear to be co-present, often indexically related in the data, and, indeed how subjectivity is eroticized in the online personals of gay men in www.gay.gr.

Selected references

  • Bucholtz, M. & K. Hall. 2004. Theorizing idenity in language and sexuality research. Language in Society 33: 469-515.
  • Cameron, D. & D. Kulick. 2003. Language and Sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cameron, D. & D. Kulick (eds.). 2006. The Language and Sexuality Reader. London: Routledge.
  • Kulick, D. 2000. Gay and lesbian language. Annual Review of Anthropology 29: 243-285.
  • Ochs, E. 1992. Indexing gender. In A. Duranti & C. Goodwin (eds.), Rethinking Context: Language as an Interactive Phenomenon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 335-358.

Foredrag: Morfologiske Effekter i Dansk Auditiv Ordgenkendelse – and beyond!

Via Afdelingens nyhedsbrev:
Fredag d. 29. maj får Afdeling for Lingvistik besøg af Laura Winther Balling fra Copenhagen Business School, som vil fortælle om sit ph.d.-projekt om morfologiens betydning på ordgenkendelse i talt sprog. Det lyder utroligt spændende, så jeg vil opfordre Jer alle til at slå et smut forbi, hvis I skulle være i nærheden:

I får lige Lauras egen beskrivelse af, hvad hun vil tale om:

Jeg vil gerne præsentere resultaterne af mit ph.d.-projekt hvor jeg undersøgte hvordan ord genkendes på dansk, med særligt fokus på morfologiens rolle. Jeg vil præsentere og diskutere fire hovedresultater: For det første genkendes morfologisk komplekse ord signifikant hurtigere end ellers tilsvarende simple ord; morfologien spiller altså en gavnlig rolle for ordgenkendelsen. For det andet påvirkes genkendelsen af et komplekst ord både af faktorer der har at gøre med ordets morfemer, og af faktorer der har at gøre med hele det komplekse ord. Dette indikerer at fordelen for de komplekse ord skyldes at genkendelsen af dem kan trække på flere forskellige typer viden. For det tredje viser eksperimenterne at jo længere tid et ord overlapper med både relaterede og urelaterede ord i ordforrådet, des længere tid tager det at genkende det ord der faktisk høres. At sådan leksikalsk konkurrence spiller en rolle i ordgenkendelsen er velkendt, men jeg introducerer to nye Uniqueness Points (UP’er) der måler denne konkurrence på en præcis og ensartet måde for ord med mere end et morfem. For det fjerde vil jeg tale lidt om de kønsforskelle jeg har observeret i mine data.

Til sidst vil jeg kort præsentere de foreløbige resultater af nogle nye eksperimenter. For det første er jeg begyndt at undersøge hvilken rolle de forskellige morfologiske parametre spiller i læsning af sammenhængende tekst på dansk og engelsk og i oversættelse fra engelsk til dansk. For det andet vil jeg tale om hvordan de nye UP’er jeg har introduceret for dansk, evt. manifesterer sig på engelsk.

Tid: 29. Maj 2009, kl. 13

Sted: Aarhus Universitet, Bygning 1410-034. (Kort)