Lubunca and the History of Istanbul Slang

with Nicholas Kontovas

hosted by Chris Gratien and Lydia Harrington

This episode is part of a series on Women, Gender, and Sex in Ottoman history

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The term Lubunca refers to a type of slang historically used among Istanbul’s LGBTQ communities. The term has gained currency only in the past decades, but in this podcast, Nicholas Kontovas suggest much deeper orgins in an overview of this underground jargon and its connections to the historical sociolinguistics of Turkey’s urban communities.

Nicholas Kontovas is a graduate student in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University
Chris Gratien is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University researching the social environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East (see
Lydia Harrington is a graduate student at the University of Washington

Episode No. 138
Release date: 18 December 2013
Location: Kurtuluş, Istanbul
Editing and Production by Chris Gratien
Bibliography and images courtesy of Nicholas Kontovas


Source: Nicholas Kontovas

Source: Nicholas Kontovas

Source: Nicholas Kontovas

Source: Nicholas Kontovas

Source: Nicholas Kontovas

Source: Nicholas Kontovas


Nicholas Kontovas
Aktunç, H. (2008). Büyük Argo Sözlüğü, Tanıklarıyla (Big Dictionary of Slang, with citations) (6th ed.). Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları.

Baker, P. (2002). Polari: The Lost Language of Gay Men. London: Routledge.

Bardakçı, M. (2005). Osmanlı'da Sex (Sex among the Ottomans). Istanbul: İnkılâp Kitabevi.

ibn Cemaleddin, A. (2000). Osmanlı Adet, Merasim, ve Tabirleri (Ottoman Traditions, Ceremonies, and Expressions). Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları. Modern Turkish rendering of the Late Ottoman عادات و مراسم قديمه تعبيرات و معاملات قومیه عثمانیه Adât ve merasim-i kadime, tabirât
ve muamelât-ı kavmiye-i Osmaniye, first published in 1912.

Kyuchukov, H. and P. Bakker (1999). A note on Romani words in the gay slang of Istanbul. In Grazer Linguistische Studien, Volume 51, pp. 95--98. Graz: Karl-Franzens-Universitat Graz.

Wyers, M. D. (2012). ``Wicked'' Istanbul: The Regulation of Prostitution in the Early Turkish Republic. Istanbul: Libra Kitapçılık ve Yayıncılık.

Yüzgün, A. (1986a). Türkiye'de Eşcinsellik: Dün, Bugün (Homosexuality in Turkey: Yesterday & Today). Istanbul: Hür-Yüz Yayıncılık.


Unknown said…
Very interesting discussion ..... thank you.

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