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Speaking in Queer Tongues: Globalization and Gay Language [Paperback]

by William L. Leap, Tom Boellstorff
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

November 7, 2003 0252071425 978-0252071423
Language is a fundamental tool for shaping identity and community, including the expression (or repression) of sexual desire. "Speaking in Queer Tongues" investigates the tensions and adaptations that occur when processes of globalization bring one system of gay or lesbian language into contact with another. Western constructions of gay culture are now circulating widely beyond the boundaries of Western nations due to influences as diverse as Internet communication, global dissemination of entertainment and other media, increased travel and tourism, migration, displacement, and transnational citizenship. The authority claimed by these constructions, and by the linguistic codes embedded in them, is causing them to have a profound impact on public and private expressions of homosexuality in locations as diverse as sub-Saharan Africa, New Zealand, Indonesia and Israel. Examining a wide range of global cultures, "Speaking in Queer Tongues" presents essays on topics that include old versus new sexual vocabularies, the rhetoric of gay-oriented magazines and news media, verbal and nonverbalized sexual imagery in poetry and popular culture, and the linguistic consequences of the globalized gay rights movement.

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Editorial Reviews


"This cohesive collection is a major, timely, and welcome contribution to a changing field. It engages a series of criss-crossing topics not previously studied in this fashion, and certainly not on this scale." --- Roger N. Lancaster, author of The Trouble with Nature: Sex in Science and Popular Culture and coeditor of The Gender/Sexuality Reader

Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (November 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252071425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252071423
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gay English as a global trend? May 22, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
William Leap has written previously about the attributes of what he terms "gay English." Here, a collection of scholars ask and answer whether gay English has encompassed the globe. Any person who is interested in issues of cultural imperialism, regardless of their sexual orientation may want to read this book.
This book provides a good global sampling. It moves from Western countries to non-Western ones to communities of color in the United States. Some articles just ask whether the word "gay" is now being used in various countries and when. Others asked how the concept of sexual orientation as an identity melds or clashes with old sexual categorizations in particular countries. Some articles just detail what terms same-gender-loving people use in magazines and at clubs. Others are deep comparative literature and ethnography which ask larger questionss about the society at large. One of the great things about this book is that gay Americans who don't know much about other countries can learn about those countries generally as well as their LGBT communities here.
I am sure that William Leap had an original, revolutionary idea when he coined his term. It doesn't surprise me that he would spearhead amassing articles from academics discussing the phenomenon globally. However, so many contributors quote his work that I wonder if they had to cite him in order to be included here.
Often times in books that cover global phenomena, the Western chapters are huge and the non-Western ones are scant. The total opposite occurs here. The articles on Germany and France were small. The ones on Indonesia, Thailand, and communities of color in the US were huge. In fact, in Indonesia, gay have invented their own language!
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