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Scholars 2009 - 2010

Scott Gautney

Scott Gautney, French
"Cultural Effects on Sexuality-based Linguistic Differences"
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Thomas Field
Expected Graduation Date: May 2011
Contact: gautney1@umbc.edu

There is only a rudimentary understanding of the ways in which sexuality and culture interact in structuring language. This study is an exploration in quantitative sociolinguistics in which I interview both heterosexual and homosexual men in France and America. The interview is designed to elicit lexical (or word-based) responses. I am specifically interested in the lexicon of these men as related to sexuality itself. Certain questions in the interview are designed to elicit the words that heterosexual and homosexual men use to talk about men's sexuality. Additional questions are personal in nature in which the subject discusses his feelings towards these words. Once the results are quantitatively analyzed, I will compare them cross-culturally to determine whether there is a difference between French and American speakers (as regards the type of words used and their attached significance) and whether or not any differences could be correlated to culture.