Article published in:Gender, Language and the Periphery: Grammatical and social gender from the margins
Edited by Julie Abbou and Fabienne H. Baider
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 264] 2016
► pp. 257–284
Lakota men’s and women’s speech
Gender, metapragmatic discourse, and language revitalization
Although most words in Lakota [a Siouan language] do not indicate gender, some can be used by speakers to mark their own gender. Recently perceptions of the use of gender-indexing words have shifted, altering the ranges of sociolinguistic expression available to speakers. Scholars have argued that speakers are able to take advantage of shared understandings about norms for gender-indexing words in order to construct alternative social meanings (see Trechter 1995; Agha 2005). I compare metapragmatic discourse about Lakota gender-indexing assertion enclitics from two different time periods in order to analyze changes in perception about this kind of gendering speech. I argue that in the current context of Lakota language shift and revitalization, metapragmatic discourses are erasing some of the indirect indexical links of gender-indexing words, and attributing other meanings that limit the potential that speakers have to use such words to communicate a broader range of social meanings in Lakota.
Published online: 16 December 2016
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