Mother Tongue (Hardback)
  • Mother Tongue (Hardback)
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Mother Tongue (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 304 Pages
Published: 25/05/2023
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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.

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9780349015309
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 433 g
Dimensions: 218 x 146 x 34 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

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

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

Wonderful - Hannah Betts, Daily Telegraph

Jenni Nuttall's Mother Tongue will easily be one of the wittiest and most insightful books of the year - Buzz Magazine

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

A great book on the history of women's words in the English language - Adam Sharp, New European

An eye-opening survey of the etymology of words used to identify women's body parts, the kind of work they performed, and the violence they suffered from men in Anglo-Saxon English from the 400s to the 1800s (with brief forays into more recent times). . . . This is required reading for logophiles, feminists, and history buffs - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

From the womb-wicket to the child-mighty, and roaring maidens to cunning crones, MOTHER TONGUE encompasses a millennium of enthralling English parlance. Incisively scholarly, affectionately humorous (and sometimes quietly furious), Nuttall sifts the archives of centuries and listens to modern echoes, as lost voices emerge, showing how women have long spoken, and been spoken of. Vivid, philosophical, absorbing and urgent, this superb book teems with historical marvels and their 21st century resonances - Rebecca Wragg Sykes, author of KINDRED

What a revelatory delight of a book. It is richly scholarly, wry and funny, healthily grounded in women's bodily experiences - they don't change but attitudes towards them do, and we are clearly very mistaken if we think we are getting it right and previous generations were unenlightened. There is a nugget of joy and wisdom on every single page - Victoria Whitworth

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Katy Wheatley

“Interesting, Accessible and Fascinating”

A fascinating foray into the world of language, specifically around where the language we use to talk about women and describe their worlds comes from. This is broken into chapters that focus on things from the basics... More

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