Cat wrote…

As a linguistics major, I tend to think about gender in the same way as what’s referred to in my field as an idiolect—no two forms of self-expression are the same and even when there’s a theme, everyone has their own variants shaped by unique life experiences.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on September 23rd, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 11 comments »

11 Responses to “Idiolect.”

  1. Oliver and sometimes Beck

    Let me see if I understood this correctly. So just as a writer would choose a particular word out of a multitude of synonyms to describe a person, what words one chooses to describe their self-expression is entirely individual and shaped by their personal experiences.


    Simon replied:

    I think (and I could be wrong) the comparison is not just to “what words one chooses to describe their self-expression,” but also to the various facets one’s self expression itself.


    Oliver and sometimes Beck replied:

    That makes sense to me, Simon. Re-reading the quote, I do think that is what Cat meant.


  2. Ryan

    I’m not sure about what exactly an idiolect is in terms of language, but in terms of gender, I really like it. It’s sort of perfect, really. No one’s gender, and no one’s gender expression, is going to be exactly the same as anyone else’s. My personal conception of being trans isn’t going to be exactly the same as anyone else’s. Even with people whose genders might seem to be the “same” as mine (a sort of non-binary trans identity, sort of transmasculine, maybe androgynous, kinda faggy), our genders are also wildly different. That’s a really interesting way of looking at it.


  3. Milo

    Wow, cool! I love the comparison. I love you now too, because I’m a linguistics major!! :)


    Cat replied:

    Woohoo! *high-fives*

    I’m so happy I got on Genderfork! :D


  4. Anonymous

    like this :)


  5. Libby

    Yay linguistics nerds! I like the comparison, it makes a lot of sense.


  6. Jay

    This makes my heart sing, no lie. <3


  7. poppies and orchids

    That is true. However, remember that society and the world try to force us all into (what they insist are) two “formal” languages, and erase all diverging dialects… To non-linguists: what I mean is, while we each have our own self-expression, we are squeezed into two basic “modes” – the binary of gender – which does not suit us all; between the big picture, “men” and “women”, and the smallest detail, you and I, there are quite a few middle-ground places where large groups converge. Those need recognition, “official” recognition, for everyone to live in a better world. Our “idiolect”, our personal self-expression, is influenced by, and often oppressed by, the ruling language – the binary.


  8. Brynn

    As an Anthropology major currently taking a class in Anthropological Linguistics, I thoroughly agree with this.


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