Mother Tongue

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Author: Jenni Nuttall

Category: Society & social sciences

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Virago

ISBN: 9780349015316

RRP: $24.99

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A rich, provocative and entertaining history of women’s words – of the language we have, and haven’t, had to share our lives.

Fascinating, intriguing, witty, a gem of a book‘ KATE MOSSE

Full of interesting observations . . . Entertaining‘ PHILIP HENSHER, SPECTATOR

This superb book teems with historical marvels and their 21st century resonances‘ REBECCA WRAGG SYKES, author of Kindred

<H3>Spinster. Cougar. Carer. Matron. Wife.</H3>

From the dawn of Old English to the present day, Dr Jenni Nuttall guides readers through the evolution of words we have used to describe women and the experiences they might share including menstruation, sexuality, the consequences of male violence, childbirth, paid and unpaid work. Along the way, she argues that as women have made slow progress towards equality, we’ve lost some of the most eloquent parts of our vocabulary for our lives.

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.

One of the wittiest and most insightful books of the year . . . A must-have for any lover of language, history or womenBUZZ MAGAZINE

There is a nugget of joy and wisdom on every single page‘ VICTORIA WHITWORTH, historian and author of Daughter of the Wolf

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

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

A fresh, informative perspective on women’s lives through the centuries – Kirkus

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)

Full of interesting observations … Entertaining – Philip Hensher, Spectator

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

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