You probably already knew this, but I recently learned that lesbian language (like terms such as butch n femme, or the reclaiming of d*ke, etc.) is referred to as “Lavender Linguistics” and I just think that’s really neat
I actually didn’t know this, and it is the most delightful thing I have heard all day!
Note from the editor: Hey! Lavender linguistics is super cool, and one of my favorite parts of our culture and history. It does encompass a bit more than reclaimed language or even one part of the community’s language though.
Lavender linguistics is a term linguists and other academics to describe the way LGBTQ+ people use language. This includes things like reclaimed language and slang, but it also includes things like cadence, tone, sentence structure, speech patterns, and pronunciation. Creaky voice, ending with a rising tone, and yes, reclaimed language, are some examples of this. There are some cases of lavender linguistics even creating a new language of sorts—Polari, for example.
“Lavender linguistics” was used first by Gershon Legman. The Lavender Languages and Linguistics Conference that happens every year that explores this concept. There is a documentary called “Do I Sound Gay?” where a gay man tries to sound “less gay” (warning for some internalized homophobia). William L. Leap has two notable works: Beyond the Lavender Lexicon: Authenticity, Imagination, and Appropriation in Lesbian and Gay Languages and Word’s out: Gay Men’s English. I mention these works because he popularized the phrase, but to be clear, lavender linguistics focuses on the language of all LGBTQ people. Also, lavender linguistics is not limited to English; it can be observed in almost every language.
I hope that offers a little more info on lavender linguistics! I’m really glad you brought this up because I think it’s one of the most interesting parts of our community and I love when people learn about it.