QUEER JAPANESE. The modern-day language usage of Japanese LGBTQ+ people
Abstract: Gendered language is a well-known feature of Japanese, but how is it applied by a speaker who does not fit the cisgender or heteronormative standards in society? In a 2010 study, Hideko Abe published a book titled Queer Japanese, which addressed this exact question. Although incredibly thorough and informative, the book is now over a decade old, and the findings may no longer be accurate. In order to see if Japanese queer people today still show the same linguistic tendencies, this thesis examines the speech displayed in the 2019 documentary Queer Japan Directed by Graham Kolbeins. The documentary features a series of interviews with people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, and their speech has been analysed based on Abe’s book. Some findings in Abe’s research turned out to hold true in Queer Japan, such as women using more formal language than men. However, the findings that lesbian women used more masculine language and gay men used more feminine language was not the case. It appears that gendered language is becoming more and more obsolete and more a stereotype or forced image than a type of language that is actively used in everyday life. The only exception is with firstperson pronouns, where defined masculine and feminine words are still being used. It would be very interesting to redo Abe’s initial study now, ten years later, and see how much has changed.
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