Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Iyabo Osiapem

Committee Members

Jack Martin

Leslie Cochrane

Kathleen Boyle


To date, virtually all extant sociolinguistic literature concerning LGBT linguistics has been limited to the Anglophone world and, consequently, varieties of English. Given the author's extensive experience in Italy, the current study developed with the goal of ascertaining the perceptions of linguistic features found in gay Italian men's speech as well as the language attitudes of that community. A folk dialectological methodology was employed, with interviews being conducted in Milan, Italy with six self-identified gay Italian men. The results of a qualitative analysis of the interview data show that there are conflicting perceptions of what constitutes this social variety, but in general the following points were agreed upon: Gay Men's Italian exists as a distinct, recognizable language variety; feminization of lexical items is highly visible and common; speakers are considered effeminate with higher pitched voices; and common slang terms include historically pejorative words. Half of the participants were found to hold strongly negative attitudes toward GMI, while the other half tended to vacillate between positive, indifferent, and negative attitudes.

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