Corpus Linguistics and Sexuality

Paul Baker, Robbie Love

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Corpus linguistics involves the use of computer software to aid the analysis of language data, in some cases up to billions of words of text. Techniques like frequency lists, keyword lists, collocates, and concordancing can be used to identify linguistic patterns that humans might otherwise overlook. This chapter demonstrates how corpus methods have been applied to research on language and sexuality, enabling both examination of language usage and representation of sexual identities and practices. This is followed by a case study that considers changing press discourses concerning a gay professional football player, Justin Fashanu. The study compares two corpora of newspaper articles, collected before and after Fashanu’s suicide in 1998. Analysis reveals the ways in which Fashanu was negatively represented as a result of his sexuality, from a criminal who allegedly “sodomized” a 17 year-old against his will to an emblematic victim of a prejudiced society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality
EditorsKira Hall, Rusty Barrett
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic) 9780190212926
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2018


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