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Let’s Talk About - (Texts About) Sex

Sexualität und Sprache- Sex and Language


Edited By Marietta Calderón and Georg Marko

Die Beiträge dieses Buches untersuchen eine breite Palette von Fragestellungen zur sprachlichen Repräsentation von Sexualität – vom sexuellen Gehalt von Toilettengraffiti bis zum erotischen Subtext des altindischen Rig-Veda. Dabei werden unterschiedliche linguistische Methoden von der Diskursanalyse bis zur historischen Syntax angewandt. Die verwendeten Daten stammen aus verschiedenen Sprachen, darunter Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch, Russisch, Spanisch, Latein und Vedisch.
The contributions to this book explore a wide range of questions concerning representations of sexuality in language – from the sexual content of toilet graffiti to the erotic subtext of the ancient Indian Rig Veda. They apply a variety of linguistic methods from discourse analysis to historical Syntax. Data from German, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Latin and Vedic are used.


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Christina Cuonz: Forbidden Language in a Gendered Place: Constructing Sexual and Gender Identities in Toilet Graffiti


Christina Cuonz Forbidden Language in a Gendered Place: Constructing Sexual and Gender Identities in Toilet Graffiti 1. Introduction Graffiti is an “umbrella term for a variety of thematically and formally very different manifestations” (Siegl 2002: 3). However, there is one feature that all members of the graffiti family have in common: they are the result of forbidden acts of writing, spraying or painting in public places, that is to say, acts of vandalism.1 Research has, for example, been conducted on mural spray graffiti including the practice of tagging (Arluke/Kutakoff/Levin 1983, Lasley 1995), subway graffiti (Castleman 1982, Racle 1983), graffiti in trains and places that belong to the public transport system, such as train stations and waiting rooms (Siegl 2002), graffiti on pedestals of monuments (Roettig 1992), school desk graffiti (Blume 1980, Bracht 1982), or prisoner’s graffiti (Huiskes 1983). This article is concerned with yet another type, namely toilet graffiti at uni- versities, i.e., Latrinalia. Hence, here we are dealing with a manifestation of language that is not only forbidden as such (damage to property), it also occurs in a sphere of intimacy, privacy and taboo and, as a matter of fact, a sphere where sexuality is prominent. The first sample of research dealing with the subject, dating from 1935, is a ninety-page booklet written by the American lexicographer Allen Walker Read (1977 [1935]) consisting mainly of a glossary of what Read calls “stigmatized words” found in toilets (1977 [1935]: 30). Read claims that there is a stratum in the English...

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