Yang Huanyi

Culture, Gender, Language

Yang Huanyi China’s last inheritress of the mysterious Nushu language, probably the world’s only female-specific language, died at her central China home earlier this week. She was in her 90s. More information on Nushu, including some corrections to common mistakes (such as the claim that no men were able to read the script), and links to other sources, can be found in this article by Laura Miller, posted here on Keywords in February.

UPDATE: Just to clarify: Yang Huanyi was not the last practitioner of nushu. This is just another myth perpetuated by a media too lazy to fact check a good story. A forthcoming issue of Nan Nü:Men, Women and Gender in Early and Imperial China will have an article on Nushu by the anthropologist Fei-wen Liu [劉斐玟], her web site lists other recent publications.