Learn about the “secret” language that only women in China speak...

Hunan Province, in southeast China, is a unique painting that combines soaring limestone peaks, canyons cut by rivers and submerged rice fields covered in fog. Mountains cover more than 80 percent of the area, interspersed with small villages that arose on the slopes of the mountains in isolation from one another.

And in this province, among the embrace of rugged cliffs and small villages, the Nushu language, which is the only writing in the world created by women and used by only them, has emerged.

Nushu script, which means “writing women” in Chinese, flourished in the nineteenth century in Jiangyong County, Hunan Province, to enable women from the Han, Yao and Miao nationalities in this region to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, which were absent in many of these societies. at that time.

Some experts believe that the roots of this writing, which was the preserve of women, go back to the Song Dynasty from 960 to 1279, and some believe that it dates back to the Shang Dynasty more than 3000 years ago. Girls were learning Nushu writing from their peasant mothers and practicing it with their sisters and friends in feudal Chinese society at a time when women were denied educational opportunities.

Many of these women were illiterate. In order to learn Nushu, they had to train in transmitting the written text as they saw it. With time, the Nushu paved the way for the emergence of a distinct female culture that still exists today.

It is noteworthy that this non-spoken writing was known to anyone outside Jiangyong Province for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years, and it was only in the 1980s that it echoed to the outside world.


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