Himglish & Femalese, By Jean Hannah Edelstein

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The Independent Culture

It is a debate intellectual feminism has grappled with ever since Luce Irigaray argued that women spoke a different language from men, which emanated from their "lips" (of the labial variety).

Journalist Jean Hannah Edelstein turns 1970s linguistic theory into a Noughties self-help guide, written in the tone of an older sister helping us girls to narrow the gender divide.

She apologises for her sweeping generalisations, but her premise that men speak with a grunting brevity, women in great big circles, not saying what they mean, or just plain fibbing, ("women speak in code, and men do not") still grates.

So do so many of the sloppy Mars/Venus stereotypes and the cliched relationship advice on offer. Reading Edelstein's lips isn't half as much fun.

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