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Mother Tongue

A Surprising History of Women’s Words

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With vim and verve, Mother Tongue: A Surprising History of Women’s Words discovers the first millennium of English words for women’s bodies and experiences.

Virago
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Author
Jenni Nuttall

Synopsis

With vim and verve, Mother Tongue: A Surprising History of Women’s Words discovers the first millennium of English words for women’s bodies and experiences.

Comparing our sometimes lacklustre contemporary terms to the vivid vocabulary of the past, Mother Tongue: A Surprising History of Women’s Words covers the first thousand years of English words describing female bodies, menstruation, women’s sexuality, the consequences of male violence, childbirth and caring, women’s paid and unpaid work, and what it is to be a girl and an older woman, as well as early English’s first attempts to articulate what this thing we now call gender might be. It showcases the eloquence of long-lost words and voices, expressiveness which can inspire and empower us to give louder voice to our own experiences and feelings, as well as some surprisingly progressive thinking which challenges our assumptions about the past and, in some cases, puts our twenty-first-century society to shame.