Language, Gender, and Sexuality: An Introduction, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Language, Gender, and Sexuality

An Introduction, 1st Edition

By Scott F. Kiesling


188 pages | 13 B/W Illus.

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Language, Gender, and Sexuality offers a panoramic and accessible introduction to the ways in which linguistic patterns are sensitive to social categories of gender and sexuality, as well as an overview of how speakers use language to create and display gender and sexuality. This book includes discussions of trans/non-binary/genderqueer identities, embodiment, new media, and the role of language and interaction in sexual harassment, assault, and rape. Drawing on an international range of examples to illustrate key points, this book addresses the questions of:

  • how language categorizes the gender/sexuality world in both grammar and interaction;
  • how speakers display, create, and orient to gender, sexuality, and desire in interaction;
  • how and why people display different ways of speaking based on their gender/sexual identities.

Aimed at students with no background in linguistics or gender studies, this book is essential reading for anyone studying language, gender, and sexuality for the first time.


"Comprehensive, thorough and, most importantly, accessible to a wider audience of readers, this book offers a much-needed updated overview of cutting-edge research on language, gender and sexuality. It should be compulsory reading for all undergraduate students in the social sciences and humanities."

Tommaso M. Milani, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

"Language, Gender, and Sexuality offers an accessible and engaging overview of the ways individuals relate to, describe and reconfigure gender and sexuality through language. Assuming no prior knowledge in this area, Kiesling walks the reader through over 40 years of research on the topic, highlighting both persistent themes and emerging trends. Kiesling’s book is an excellent resource for those interested in gaining a new perspective on the social dimensions of gender and sexuality."

Erez Levon, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Table of Contents

List of Figures


Notation and transcription

  1. More than talking difference

2. Studying language

3. What are gender and sexuality?: A short introduction to a very big topic

4. How we got here: A brief history of the study of language, gender, and sexuality

5. Linguistic categorization and gender categories

6. Interaction, identity, and performativity

7. Linguistic norms as gender norms

8. Putting it all together: Gender, sexuality, and language infuse life and society


About the Author

Scott F. Kiesling is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Guides to Linguistics

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics