Secret Scripts and Morality @ Link Wanderlust


Although social media can be a bit distracting, occasional gems show up. Take this article Remembering Nüshu, the 19th-Century Chinese Script Only Women Could Write by Lauren Young that talks about a Chinese script exclusively for women. The Nüshu script was not a secret script that only women understood. If women read it aloud, men would understand it too though they were not keen on picking up the nuances of the script.It is not clear why such a script emerged- was it created by discriminatory practices in education? Women were usually not taught how to write unless they were from the upper classes. Women also conformed to first their fathers, then their husbands and finally their sons.

This syllabic script contains a treasure trove of women’s lives including women’s songs. Such a script is a boon especially when women’s voices are mostly absent in hi(s)tory.


While women and men may need different languages, language itself is a very malleable entity. As human beings converse in many languages it is interesting to learn about how language affects cognition and morality. Does the language you use change the person that you are? If you are bilingual, you may have noticed how different aspects of yourself emerge with each different language.

I often have the sense that I’m a slightly different person in each of my languages—more assertive in English, more relaxed in French, more sentimental in Czech. Is it possible that, along with these differences, my moral compass also points in somewhat different directions depending on the language I’m using at the time?

This interests psychologists as ethical dilemmas and morally questionable stories often meet with different reactions when pondered on in a non-native language. Why is this? The language of our childhood is heavier on emotion while the language learned at school requires more effort and therefore elicits less of an emotional response. Read How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language by Julie Sedivy  to learn more about how the moral compass of a person is influenced by language.




Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: