ENLANGUAGING NONBINARY LIVES IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH: GENDER ACROSS LINGUACULTURAL CONTEXTS
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractDrawing from growing literature on nonbinary approaches to linguistics and the concepts of language and gender, I discuss the relationship between language and gender, situating this discussion within a consideration of their relationships to society in both English- and Frenchlanguage contexts, specifically in the U.S. and in France. Nonbinary people have long since been subverting linguistic binaries and navigating structures that have traditionally excluded them. This subversion continues at present, alongside persistent resistance to popularizing these linguistic innovations. I argue that the nature of the resistance differs between the U.S. and France primarily because of variance of each culture’s relationship to its dominant language rather than the presence or absence of a binary grammatical structure with ties to social gender. As such, I reinforce the notion (again, long understood by nonbinary individuals) that enlanguaging nonbinary realities and creating space for this language in mainstream discourse is both important and completely possible, even in languages like French which are characterized by traditionally binary grammatical structures.