Read Man Made Language by Dale Spender Online


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....

Title : Man Made Language
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780863584015
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 265 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Man Made Language Reviews

  • Natasha (Diarist) Holme
    2018-10-28 13:50

    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 of print' of numerous works by female writers, etc). The consequent muting and invisibility of women has allowed men to be viewed as the primary sex (with women as 'other' or 'deviant'). Reality for both women and men then is seen from the male perspective which, in turn, has shaped language.Now that language describes male reality and not female reality, it can hold the patriarchy in place because it seems like the norm, and even women defend it. Females who object are seen as whining and unreasonable, whereas those females are simply suggesting that men be reasonable and give back what they have taken.Men (and often women) insist that the terms 'mankind,' 'man,' and 'he' encompass women, that they refer to 'people.' But if we compare these two sentences, we see the lie:--Man goes to war with his enemies--Man breastfeeds his childrenUp until recently sexual language (as well as all other language) was based on the male point of view. For example:--Penetration. This is what the man does. The same act, from the heterosexual female perspective, could be described as 'enclosure.' That this seems absurd highlights the issue.--Rape: The word means 'seize.' Rapacious (meaning 'greedy') comes from the same Latin root. This word conveys nothing of the painful, terrifying experience for a woman. When the expressions 'sexist' and 'sexual harassment' entered the English language, this was ground-breaking. Women at last had some words they could use to describe their experience in their own terms. This book didn't make me as angry as I'd expected (maybe because women are more liberated since 1980), but I'm still pissed off.

  • C.
    2018-11-01 15:30

    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.

  • Vittoria
    2018-11-13 12:34

    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).

  • Brittany
    2018-10-22 12:52

    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 the 80s, it ends on a hopeful note. And although it is from the 80s, it is alarmingly still current.

  • Cecilia
    2018-11-11 10:49

    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
    2018-11-18 13:52

    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
    2018-11-19 16:30

    the locus classicus of the thesis that language itself can be patriarchal. should be read with gilligan and tannen.