Document Type

Honors Project


The study of queer linguistic practices in East Asia as a whole, and especially in Korea, is an area in desperate need of scholarship. While extensive research exists on the linguistic practices of people with non-heteronormative sexual identities in an English-speaking context (see Bucholtz and Hall, 2004; 2005; Eckert and McConnel-Ginet, 1992 as examples), only two paper touches on queer identity in a Korean linguistic context, namely King (2008) and Kim (2016). King’s paper discusses the roles queer identity plays in English learning among three Korean gay men in Seoul, and Kim’s paper deals with the othering of queer Korean voices through television. This paper seeks to begin to fill the immense gap in understanding of queer linguistic practices in a Korean context by proposing an analysis of the locative phrase ijjok, meaning this way or this direction, as well as non-standard English use as resources for queer identity creation in Korean. Using Bucholtz and Hall’s tactics of intersubjectivity (2004) and interactionist (2005) frameworks as a theoretical framework, this paper analyzes speech produced by queer streamers and seeks to show that ijjok serves the following functions: (1) as an indirect index for queer identity; (2) as a mechanism through which to maintain conversational harmony and aesthetics; (3) as a mechanism to authenticate queer identity and in-group membership; (4) to project the social alienation and erasure of queer Koreans onto abstract linguistic space; and (5) to subvert the hegemony of earlier queer self-reference terms. Furthermore, this paper grounds itself in ethnographic research and dialogues with post-structural, feminist, and queer theories.

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