When we look to the past, we often expect to be disappointed. In the history of language, we expect to find misogyny around each corner, a disdain for or absence of the voice of women. But the history of women’s words, as it turns out, is full of surprises. From the monthly flux or flowers to the mgs that experience them, from the original helpmeet, Eve, to the viragos who fronted early feminism, it is undeniable that there was a wealth of riches for describing our experiences, our lives and our selves. In fact, as women have made slow progress towards equality, we’ve paradoxically lost some of the most expressive and eloquent bits of our vocabulary. Here, Jenni Nuttall shines a light on them, to dust them off and see if we’ve any use for them today. ‘Mother Tongue’ is a rich, provocative and entertaining history of women’s words – of the language we have, and haven’t, had to share our lives.