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Lead book review

Why are we so squeamish about describing women’s everyday experiences?

Philip Hensher discusses how words relating to women’s ordinary experiences have been shrouded in euphemism over the centuries

20 May 2023

9:00 AM

20 May 2023

9:00 AM

Mother Tongue: The Surprising History of Women’s Words Jenni Nuttall

Virago, pp.304, 16.99

The way that language is shaped by the facts of biological sex is a rich subject. (The way that biological sex is framed, and sometimes refuses to be shaped, by language is perhaps one for another day.) Some languages have evolved forms which are distinctly those of male or female users.

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