Slang. The ultimate in man-made languages. Two thousand words for woman and every one a put-down. Thus the story, now and for several hundred years. But stories are just that and perhaps there's an alternative.
In this book Jonathon Green, the leading collector of English-language slang, asks whether women have another role to play. As slang's active, positive, rebellious subject, rather than its endlessly derided, submissive object.
Sounds & Furies represents a quest to overturn a long-established, but far from invulnerable belief system. To show that throughout a recorded history that starts with Chaucer's bawdy, mouthy and magnificently self-willed Wife of Bath and carries on through a cast of working girls and villainesses, playwrights and bestselling authors, shopgirls and fishwives and through to the modern, online worlds of Mumsnet and Tinder, women have always made slang their own.
'From fishwives to flappers and from music-hall performers to Mumsnetters, women have indeed made contributions to the slang vocabulary of English; by bringing together so much fascinating material about their words and their worlds, this book makes its own contribution to the history of both women and language.'
Professor Deborah Cameron, Professor of Language and Communication, Worcester College, University of Oxford