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"Láadan, the constructed language designed to let us express ourselves so perfectly that we blow up the patriarchy"


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I'm deeply saddened that Suzette Haden Elgin has developed a serious condition similar to Alzheimer's, but untreatable. She was a brilliant writer of science-fiction. If you love Judith Merrill or Ursula LeGuin, you'll love Elgin. Her Coyote Jones series was full of humor, action, and great sci-fi.

Here's a few bits of information on her condition:

To help support what must be mounting medical bills, buy one of her books new, not used. You'll get the pleasant benefit of being intorduced to a brilliant, humorous, intelligent writer with a distinct voice and something to say.

Here's one of my favorite posts from her website:

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Brochure From the Intensive Care Ward: 2081

"Emerson has written that the poet is the only true doctor. I believe him, for the poet, lacking the impediment of speech with which the rest of us are afflicted, gazes, records, diagnoses, and prophesies."
— Richard Selzer; Mortal Lessons, page 16

You will be pleased to know:

Today we have therapists to provide
the blessed impediment — the tongue, tied,
the nerves laced decently, and laced inside.

Today we find them early, diapered, nested,
before their brains are hopelessly infested
with images; today, they can be tested,

the diagnosis made, the remedy applied
before the poison spreads. Our pride is justified —
poetry was a slow and agonizing suicide.

No more those gouts of wet and living rose.
Now we apply the tourniquet of prose
and staunch the torturing truth before it flows.

Suzette Haden Elgin

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Excerpt: Suzette Haden Elgin created Láaden as a language better suited for expressing women’s points of view. (Láaden has a word, “bala,” that means “I’m angry for a reason but nothing can be done about it.”)


In the early 1980s linguist Suzette Haden Elgin came across the feminist hypothesis that existing human languages are inadequate to express the perceptions of women, and she wondered what a language would look like that DID enable female expressions of perceptions. By 1984 she had created and published her own language, Làadan. Some of my favorite features:

- She has specific, separate words for "to menstruate painfully", "to menstruate for the first time", "to menstruate early/late", etc.
- She has specific, separate words for "to be pregnant", "to be pregnant joyfully", "to be pregnant late in term and eager for the end" (that word is widazhad, which sounds like a pretty perfect word for the meaning), etc.
- She created the word "radìidin", which means a non-holiday, a time allegedly a holiday but actually so much a burden because of work and preparations that it is a dreaded occasion (tis the season!)
-And my very favorite, the word "ramimelh", which is to refrain from asking, with evil intent; especially when it is clear that someone badly wants the other to ask (I do this all the time)

All this and more from Arika Okrent's "In the Land of Invented Languages"!

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The gentle art of verbal self-defense
Just a few words for now about Suzette Haden Elgin ´s work. That is, how to arm yourself so that you can withstand those verbal sticks and stones that you bravely claim don't hurt at all but in fact pierce our defenses and hurt badly. Ouch . Elgin is a ling...
The gentle art of verbal self-defense
The gentle art of verbal self-defense

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+Rose Fox writes that author Suzette Haden Elgin has become disabled in a way that means she will no longer be able to communicate publicly. I have been fan of her writing for a long time -- her novel Native Tongue blew me away and did not, I thought, get the attention it deserved -- and so am very sorry to hear about this.

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Writing a letter to Suzette Haden Elgin. She is not up to replying or writing anything or answering/reading email. Her family and friends posted. The address is in the comment thread. I feel so inadequate. There's no way to convey what her work has meant to me. Wil sha...


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This is great! 

"[...] To create the Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

Purpose: The intention of the Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship is to encourage research within collections in the area of feminist science fiction. The Knight Library houses the papers of authors Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Kate Wilhelm, Suzette Haden Elgin, Sally Miller Gearhart, Kate Elliot, Molly Gloss, Laurie Marks, and Jessica Salmonson, along with Damon Knight. SCUA is also in the process of acquiring the papers of James Tiptree, Jr. and other key feminist science fiction authors. For more about these collections, visit http://library.uoregon.edu/node/3524.

Fellowship description: This award supports travel for the purpose of research on, and work with, the papers of feminist science fiction authors housed in the Knight Library. These short-term research fellowships are open to undergraduates, master’s and doctoral students, postdoctoral scholars, college and university faculty at every rank, and independent scholars working in feminist science fiction. In 2013, $3,000 will be awarded to conduct research within these collections. The fellowship selection committee will include representatives from CSWS, CHC, and the UO Libraries.

Funding: CSWS is accepting donations to permanently endow the Le Guin Science Fiction Fellowship. To contribute to the endowment, please visit https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1540"
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