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Verbal hygiene in the Hong Kong gay community

Jones, R. H. ORCID: (2013) Verbal hygiene in the Hong Kong gay community. World Englishes, 32 (1). pp. 75-92. ISSN 1467-971X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/weng.12005


This paper explores the status and function of English among gay men in Hong Kong through the analysis of postings about English on a popular gay internet forum. The forum,, while mainly featuring discussions about sex, fashion, entertainment and relationships, also contains a surprising amount of discussion about the English language, mostly taking the form of what Cameron refers to as ‘verbal hygiene’ – the enforcement of language ‘standards’ through the criticism of the language use of particular individuals or groups. The analysis of these postings sees them not just as evidence of language attitudes within the gay community, but also as tools with which Chinese gay men in postcolonial Hong Kong position themselves in relation to one another, in relation to ‘foreign’ gay men, and in relation to the wider population of Hong Kong.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:58208

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