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Nazareth Chornyak, the most talented linguist of the family, is exhausted by her constant work translating for trade organizations, supervising the children’s language education, running the compound, and caring for the elderly men. She longs to retire to the Barren House, where women past childbearing age knit, chat, and wait to die. What Nazareth comes to discover is that a slow revolution is going on in the Barren Houses: there, word by word, women are creating a language of their own to free them from men’s control.
"Native Tongue brings to life not only the possibility of a women’s language, but a rationale for one,"—Village Voice
"Elgin takes up more than linguistics, of course—everything from religion to sex…the story is absolutely compelling."—Women’s Review of Books
Suzette Haden Elgin is author of twelve science fiction novels and is widely know for her best-selling series The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense and for The Grandmother Principles. She is director of the Ozark Center for Language Studies and is professor emerita of linguistics at San Diego State University.
Susan Squier is Julia Brill professor of English and Women’s Studies at Pennsylvania State University.
Posted August 1, 2014
Suzette Haden Elgin's absolute best piece of fiction ever. It includes the creation of a language for women linguists in a dystopic society. The plot? Generational clans of patriarchal linguists rent out the women as translators for negotiations with alien societies. Meanwhile, the women are taking society in another direction.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2010
I read this trilogy many years ago, and I am still fond of the story of Nazareth/Natha and what she endured. My suggestion is to read the first two books (Native Tongue and The Judas Rose)and skip the third (Earthsong), because the first two books were fantastic, and the third book was awful and didn't really continue what the first two books were about.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.