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The Nushu Language Is Almost At Its End – China’s Women Writing Language

By Editor | March 27, 2008

women teaching china's nushu women writing languageYang Huanyi died back in the summer of 2005 and it also may mean the death of one of the world’s most secretive and mysterious languages, China’s Nushu tongue. Yang was 98 years old.

Nushu, directly translated means “woman’s writing,” and Nushu is thought to have developed over 400 years ago as a written and spoken language in which women could communicate amongst themselves without men understanding them. Women, during those ancient times had their feet bound and were forbidden from any sort of formal education. It was the women in the Shungjian Xu township in Jiangyong county of Hunan province, China that developed the Nushu language, although it’s not known how much further it spread.

Women in the area would give a diary of a newlywed woman with the first few pages filled with thoughts and congratulations written in the Nushu language, and the other pages blank for her to be able to keep a record of her own thoughts and feelings without her husband being able to understand (A Nushu language journal).

Yang Huanyi was thought to be the last woman proficient in the language, both spoken and written. Nushu when written is a series of strokes, dots and horizontals and arcs similar to chinese. Today however, the language is being slowly documented and preserved by linguists in China.

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Topics: Articles, Nature, Wildlife, World and Environment | 128 Comments »

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