Washerwomen   Leave a comment

Chapter VIII Anna Livia Plurabella -Gossip of two washerwomen on the banks of the Liffy

(196.1-204.26)

As I was reading this extract, I remembered that I once worked in a laundry. I was a towel folder.  I even waded across a river to get to the laundry sometimes. And there was an Irish woman called Norah. She had false teeth and would flick them in and out as she counted the towels, checking they were clean and piled up in stacks of 10. She didn’t say much actually. But, I  remember an expletive filled conversation with a Kendalian women who worked the sheet roller machine. She said she always gave the best cuts of meat to her dog and never to her husband; and that I shouldn’t sit on the ground or I’d get piles.

Thinking about language and gender more formally, Stephen Fry interviews Professor Deborah Cameron on the subject of language and the gender divide here

The blurb for Fry’s English Delight quotes Cameron as writing,

“The idea that men and women differ fundamentally in the way they use language to communicate is a myth in the everyday sense: a widespread but false belief. But it is also a myth in the sense of being a story people tell in order to explain who they are, where they have come from, and why they live as they do”.

See also: Hyde data (Gender differences in verbal/ communicative behaviour)

(-d women predominate; +d men predominate)

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