Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Iyabo F. Osiapem

Committee Members

Leslie Cochrane

Kaitlyn Harrigan

Thomas J. Linneman


This study examines which words members of social fraternities use when talking about others involved in their fraternity, including members, pledges, rushes, and those formerly involved. These referential words are analyzed for positive/relationally close usages. Data are gathered through interviews with seven members of four fraternities recognized by William & Mary. These interviews focus on each participant’s experience in their fraternity in order to gather and analyze referential word usage. Words are grouped into broad fraternity-related and non-fraternity related categories, and are further subdivided as data accumulate. The frequency and usage context data suggest that members are not more likely to use words specific to fraternities in a positive way, or at all, but are more likely to use non-fraternity masculine words in a positive way when describing others involved.

Keywords: masculinity, hegemony, fraternity, intersectionality, sociolinguistics, speech community

On-Campus Access Only