This article engages with the semantic ambiguity of the notion of the ‘margins’,
together with its heuristic potential. It begins by discussing how the margins can be
strategically employed as unsettling vantage points through which to re-read existing
sociolinguistic research on ‘non-normative’ linguistic practices in Sweden. Moreover,
on the basis of data on same-sex desire in South Africa, the article shows how adopting
a perspective ‘from the margins’ runs on a razor-thin edge between reason and
irrationality, intelligibility and absurdity, shedding light on the limits of sociolinguistics
and (critical) discourse analysis.