Mother Tongue: The surprising history of women's words

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Mother Tongue: The surprising history of women's words by Jenni Nuttall

So many of the words we use to articulate the experiences women share feel awkward or alien. Medical terms are accurate but antiseptic. Slang often perpetuates stereotypes. Where are the plain, honest words for women's daily lives?

From the dawn of Old English to the present day, Dr. Jenni Nuttall guides readers through the evolution of the words we have used to describe bodies, menstruation, sexuality, the consequences of male violence, childbirth, paid and unpaid work, and gender.

Along the way, she argues that, paradoxically, as women have made slow progress towards equality, we've lost some of the most expressive and eloquent bits of our vocabulary.

Inspired by Nuttall's deep knowledge of the English language as well as conversations with her teenage daughter, this is a book for anyone who loves language - and for feminists who want to look to the past in order to move forward.

Fascinating, intriguing, witty, a gem of a book ― Kate Mosse

Full of interesting observations ... Entertaining ― Philip Hensher, Spectator

A fresh, informative perspective on women's lives through the centuries ― Kirkus

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  • Book Dimensions

    14.6 x 3.4 x 21.8 cm

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  • Book Publication Date

    25 May 2023

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