Edited by Hans-Georg Wolf, Denisa Latić and Anna Finzel
[Cognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts 14] 2021
► pp. 185–212
Innate or acquired?
homosexuality and cultural models of gender in Indian and Nigerian English
In this chapter, some of the findings from sociolinguistic interviews with 25 speakers of Indian English and 26 speakers of Nigerian English are presented. Emanating from a larger research project concerned with conceptualizations of gender, the current analysis focuses on conceptualizations of homosexuality and makes use of the analytical tools provided by Cultural Linguistics and Cognitive Sociolinguistics. In particular, the notions of “cultural conceptualizations” (e.g., Sharifian, 2011, 2017) and “cultural model” (e.g., Wolf & Polzenhagen, 2009; also cf. Schneider, 2014) are addressed.
At the time of data collection, discriminatory legislation concerning homosexuality was in force in India and Nigeria. Opinion polls likewise echoed a negative stance towards homosexuality among the population of the two countries. This raised the expectation that similar conceptualizations of homosexuality might be found in Indian and Nigerian English, both in terms of their negative connotation and of how homosexuality would exactly be conceptualized. However, this expectation was not fulfilled. Firstly, the acceptance among the Indian participants to this study was generally greater. Secondly, homosexuality was predominantly conceptualized as an innate condition in the Indian English data, while it was prevalently understood as an acquired condition by the Nigerian informants. Drawing from earlier findings within the context of the same project (Finzel, 2021; fc.), I suggest that these differences can be explained with culture-specific models of gender that lend their logic to conceptualizations of homosexuality.
- 3.Word lists
- 4.Conceptualizations of homosexuality
- 4.1 homosexuality in Indian English
- 4.2 homosexuality in Nigerian English