April 4, 2022 On Campus
04/04/2022 5:00 PM 04/04/2022 6:30 PM America/New_York Andover Language as a Tool for Survival: A History of Secret Queer Communications since the 16th Century

Brace Student Fellow Presentation

Nick Gibeley ’22

A s early as the 16th century, queer people around the world began creating unique languages to safely communicate with one another and create a sense of community at times when some genders and sexualities were criminalized and misunderstood. Sociolinguists and anthropologists label this practice a “speech community”: members share a common understanding of usage and foster similar customs, ideals, and identities. Speech communities form under a social hierarchy, forcing members to hide their identities to avoid hostility, violence, imprisonment, or even death.

Nick Gibeley ’22 will examine two languages—Polari and isiNgqumo—formed within LGBTQ+ speech communities. Each showcases how language can be one of the most powerful forms of resistance against oppressive forces. Through analyses of these linguistic histories, characteristics, and usages, Gibeley explores how and why they developed and what they can teach us about global views of LGBTQ+ identities over time. His research asks: How can language be a crucial tool for survival?

Open to the PA community; dinner will be served.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Emmanuel Odjo, Instructor and Chair in French

School Room, Abbot Hall

Language as a Tool for Survival: A History of Secret Queer Communications since the 16th Century

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. , School Room, Abbot Hall

Brace Student Fellow Presentation

Nick Gibeley ’22

A s early as the 16th century, queer people around the world began creating unique languages to safely communicate with one another and create a sense of community at times when some genders and sexualities were criminalized and misunderstood. Sociolinguists and anthropologists label this practice a “speech community”: members share a common understanding of usage and foster similar customs, ideals, and identities. Speech communities form under a social hierarchy, forcing members to hide their identities to avoid hostility, violence, imprisonment, or even death.

Nick Gibeley ’22 will examine two languages—Polari and isiNgqumo—formed within LGBTQ+ speech communities. Each showcases how language can be one of the most powerful forms of resistance against oppressive forces. Through analyses of these linguistic histories, characteristics, and usages, Gibeley explores how and why they developed and what they can teach us about global views of LGBTQ+ identities over time. His research asks: How can language be a crucial tool for survival?

Open to the PA community; dinner will be served.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Emmanuel Odjo, Instructor and Chair in French

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