What Does Language Remember?: Indexical Inversion and the Naturalized History of Japanese Women



This article explores the production of naturalized temporality and its ideological effects by focusing on the semiotic process of indexical order. Linguistic practice is linked with the exercise of power not only by constructing intersubjective social reality in an ongoing communicative process, but also, and perhaps more powerfully, by constructing an historical narrative that logically unfolds from the (naturalized) indexical order. Drawing on the case of the historical development of “women's language” in Japanese, the article discusses how an indexical order produces a tacit natural history of Japanese women, which surreptitiously turns gender inequality into nature.