Books: The Father Tongue

WORDS AND WOMEN by CASEY MILLER and KATE SWIFT 197 pages. Anchor Press/Doubleday. $7.95.

Anyone who wants to feel oppressed by the English language will never be disappointed. With a vocabulary of some 750,000 words—the world's largest and richest—the language of Shakespeare and Spiro Agnew provides enough terms to offend almost everybody. Those most recently and publicly irked are the feminists. The mother tongue, as they have argued for some time, is a lexicon of male chauvinism. For years the language has evolved along the lines preferred by the male-controlled society that used it.

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