Do you speak “laadan” or “nüshu”? If you’re a man and have never heard of these terms, it’s probably normal! And if you’re a woman, rest assured, few of us have heard of it. In any case, whether you’re male, female, or non-binary, here are two languages made specifically by or for women.
What if we immersed ourselves in languages spoken and invented by women? This is the good idea of the Babbel platform, which brings two unique languages up to date on the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day and is unknown to the general public.
“The most gender-specific language”
Let’s go to China to discover a language read, spoken and written exclusively by women: “Nüshu”. A language that originated about 1000 years ago in the Hunan province of southern China.
This dialect is inspired by the characteristics of the Chinese script. The reason why men don’t understand? The women who practiced it passed it on from generation to generation, with the greatest discretion and especially outside these gentlemen.
Discovered by accident in 1984 during an exploration in Jiangyong (Hunan) by Professor Gong Zhebing and his students, this language has been studied extensively until we can decipher it and determine its origin. The history of this language then goes all over the planet and goes so far as to win Guinness World Records for “most gender-specific language”†
“Men played no part in the production or distribution of his writings, and nüshu was often used to write stories that challenged conventional male morality. †
Words to express women’s emotions
“Hysterical”. This is a word that many feminists have long erased from their vocabulary. Hysteria was considered a disease in the 1800s and was associated exclusively with women (“hyster” means “womb” in Latin). Although hysteria (a priori) is no longer considered a disease, a woman is still called “hysterical” once she gets angry… or just dares to raise her voice.
This is where the “laadan” comes in. This ‘language’ was conceived by the American novelist Suzette Haden Elgin in the early 1980s. The latter assumes that no existing language can express the emotions and sensations of women. Especially “useless” (“bama”) anger.
But where can we read this famous “laadan”? in the novel Native language by Suzette Haden Elgin, published in 1984. The field? A group of women linguists and feminists of the 21st century decide to develop a language to protest against a government that wants to take away women’s suffrage.
A move that isn’t risky, given that the feminist science fiction author has gone so far as to train himself in linguistic relativity, “theory that differences between languages inevitably lead to differences in intellectual and affective structuring”notes the Babbel app.
From loading to “mansplaining”
If they haven’t created full-fledged language like Suzette Haden Elgin did, contemporary feminist activists and intellectuals have developed an arsenal of vocabulary to describe concepts (such as the “female gaze”) or even quintessentially masculine behavior with a macho bent.
This is especially the case in the United States with the now famous “man” series: “mansplaining” (an unfortunate tendency of men to explain to women how the world works), “manspreading” (to denote these men who stretching all the way in the subway) or even the “manterrupting” (in reference to men constantly interrupting their speech).
Effective formulas that have crossed the Atlantic and are now used in France. Some of them are even entitled to their translation into Molière’s language, such as “mecsplication” (for “mansplaining”).
(ETX Daily Up)
(Photo credits: fizkes/Shutterstock)