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Sociolinguistic Horizons: Language and Sexuality



In this essay, I examine the current state of research on the connections between language and sexuality and argue that the time has arrived for such research to adopt a more vigorous use of the scientific method, which will allow for testing the predictions made by the various theoretical interventions that have been proposed since the 1990s. I begin by outlining the major theoretical debate within the field, namely, the question of the place of social identity within a theory of language and sexuality and then detail several areas and trends in the research, including research focused on lexical and grammatical variation, language and sexual identity, language and heterosexuality, language and eroticism, and finally experimental approaches to language and sexuality. I conclude with a call for more integration of deductive and inductive approaches within the field.