Mother Tongue


by Nuttall, Jenni | Non-fiction; Humanities; Social Sciences
Published 02/05/2024 by Little, Brown Book Group (Virago Press Ltd) in the United Kingdom
Paperback | 304 pages

SKU: '9780349015316 Categories: , ,


Spinster. Cougar. Carer. Matron. Wife.

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

‘A gem of a book’ KATE MOSSE
‘A fascinating look at how we talk about women’ WASHINGTON POST

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.

‘This superb book teems with historical marvels and their 21st century resonances’ REBECCA WRAGG SYKES, author of Kindred
‘A great book on the history of women’s words in the English language’ NEW EUROPEAN
‘Even longtime word enthusiasts will find plenty of new trivia’ NEW YORKER
‘A must-have for any lover of language, history or women’ BUZZ MAGAZINE
‘Entertaining’ SPECTATOR
‘Edifying and enlivening’ BOSTON GLOBE
‘There is a nugget of joy and wisdom on every single page’ VICTORIA WHITWORTH, historian and author of Daughter of the Wolf