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Man Made Language

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  11 reviews
One of the great classics of the women's movement, Man-Made Language opened our eyes to the myriad ways in which the rules and uses of language promote a male, and so inherently partial, view of the world. Often imitated, never replaced, Man-Made Language has become a cornerstone of modern feminist thought.
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published January 23rd 1980 by Routledge & Kegan Paul Books (first published 1980)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  157 ratings  ·  11 reviews


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Natasha Holme
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminist, non-fiction
I have long been fascinated by the topic of this book: how sexist language shapes our consciousness, our reality.

Published in 1980, this is not a light read, rather academic in style. Much of it was engaging, some of it was repetitive.

We learn of the many ways in which women have been silenced throughout history (the taking on of husbands' surnames, that women have been forbidden from discussing marital affairs with other women, that expressing an opinion isn't feminine, the letting slip 'out o
...more
C.
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
So, the writing style is to an extent an exercise in making interesting things boring, but really the content is fascinating enough for it not to matter.
Brittany
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is an amazing book. It is a great study on linguistics, language, sexism, stereotypes, and patriarchal society. It is also a relatively quick read for such an extensive study and very accessible for a non-scientific audience.

The book covers various different areas, but my favorite were the statistical analyses at the beginning, looking at different studies from a very objective standpoint and pointing out the biases in them. Although the picture painted by the book is bleak, since this was
...more
Vittoria
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the most intelligent book about language I have ever read. Do yourself a favour and read it: it will completely change your perspective on the English language (and, for my part, I can say that it works perfectly with Italian - my mothertongue - as well).
yelenska
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! (I skipped the last chapter because I've already read about the subject before, but I have no doubt it was just as good as the rest).
julia mueller
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: femmes, language
A powerful argument and an integral question: if those in power created language, how can that power be taken back to tell accurate stories of the (formerly? still?) powerless?
Ellie
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism, non-fiction
Thought-provoking. It's a bit long-winded, but great ideas.
Beck
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very interesting and well put together - changes your perspective profoundly. just wish it was a little less repetitive.
Cecilia
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why do we downgrade the female version of lord: lady, master: mistress, and so on?
Read this book in college when the focus of the semester was gender dynamics. It remains a favorite addressing the frustrating manifestation of patriarchy in our language.
Clare
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An absolute classic and essential reading if you are at all interested in how language can be used to establish and protect existing hierarchies.
sologdin
the locus classicus of the thesis that language itself can be patriarchal. should be read with gilligan and tannen.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add a cover image 3 19 Nov 09, 2015 07:54AM  
500 Great Books B...: Man Made Language - Dale Spender 1 8 Jul 27, 2014 01:23PM  

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Dale Spender (born 1943) is an Australian feminist scholar, teacher, writer and consultant.

Spender was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, a niece of the crime writer Jean Spender (1901–70). The eldest of three, she has a younger sister Lynne, and a much younger brother Graeme. She attended the Burwood Girls High School, in Sydney. In her youthful days she was a Miss Kodak girl. In the later half
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