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Code Switching and Sexual Orientation: A Test of Bernstein's Sociolinguistic Theory

Code Switching and Sexual Orientation: A Test of Bernstein's Sociolinguistic Theory

M E Lumby. J Homosex.

Abstract

Bernstein's theory was tested in the homosexual's "closed" community to determine code-switching ability and its relationship to jargon. Subjects told a story based on homoerotic photographs where knowledge of sexual orientation was varied. Rather than finding the restricted code associated with in-group communication, an analysis of data trends (since all hypotheses were rejected) suggests that homosexual hemophyly encouraged elaboration, and status differentiation resulted in a more restricted code. Story length was the most significant variable across groups. Some of Bernstein's theoretical explanations require modification to account for subjects' behavior in stigmatized social groups.

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