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Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

Researching Gay Speech Patterns at the University of Illinois

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Title: Researching Gay Speech Patterns at the University of Illinois
Author(s): Rauch, Jacalyn
Subject(s): Homosexual Speech Linguistic Patterns Gay
Abstract: This research project seeks to answer the following major questions: are there homosexual linguistic patterns typical to gay men, at least on the University of Illinois campus? What constitutes those speech patterns as identifiably gay? Where do these speech patterns come from, and why do they exist? And, most importantly, what do gay men have to say about it? After conducting my interviews and observations, as well as delving into some secondary sources, I came to several conclusions concerning the afore-mentioned research questions: 1) there are identifiable gay speech patterns, 2) These qualities of speech are not dependent on gender distinctions, but exist along a spectrum that includes both masculine and feminine qualities (and which all men and women, gay or straight, take part in on some level). 3) Though sometimes exaggerated in stereotypical portrayals, the very exaggeration of gay speech can exist as a symbol of gay power in society, and as a means for gay men to establish their presence within a community, as well as their right to a cultural voice. 4) Nothing is truly concrete outside the realm of individual experience. Through out the research process I feel that my understanding of the gay culture and community on this campus has deepened considerably, as well as my respect for those individuals who consider themselves a part of it.
Issue Date: 2011-08
Series/Report: ENGL401 Spring 2011: Introduction to the Story of the English LanguageProfessor Catherine Viera
Genre: Essay
Type: Text
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-08-18

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  • Diversity on Campus/Equity and Access
    This collection examines ways in which the U.S. university and the American college experience are affected by diversity, and difference. In particular, these student projects examine experiences of diversity on campus, including important contemporary social, cultural, and political debates on equity and access to university resources.

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