Helene Uri

Who Said What?
Women, men and language

He sulks like a little girl. She’s got hair on her chest. He drives like an old woman, and it’s time for her to man up.

Helene Uri has been interested in language and gender for many years. Do men and women speak different languages? Is the language of women more indirect? Are there different words for men and women? And what happens to our language when we speak about women and men? Ten years ago, Uri began cutting out newspaper articles and putting them into a blue folder. She has also eavesdropped on conversations on the bus and at parties, and has timed speeches and counted obituaries. And she has gone through books and films with a fine toothcomb on the hunt for what we say, how we say it, and who says what.

Who Said What? is a book about how language reflects reality, but also how it shapes it: notions about men and women are everywhere to be found in our speech and tell us what we – more or less consciously – think about each other and ourselves. Readers will not only relate to Helene Uri’s precise, revealing and amusing book, but also encounter new surprises and understandings.

Hits the mark. Thought-provoking on women, men and language. Sharp, insightful and witty ... this 350-page book is a must for anyone interested in language.
5 out of 6 stars


Helene Uri excels when she gets the reader thinking about old myths in new ways ... The book reads easily, intelligently and with a dry wit, to the point of irritation when one realises that language is an area left untouched by equality.
5 out of 6 stars


Helene Uri has written a political and hugely interesting book. What makes the greatest impact is her eye for detail in behaviour, speech patterns and texts.


Unfortunately, Helene Uri’s book is necessary in order for our foremothers’ struggles for equality not to be washed down the drain ... Uri is best when wrenching the reader away from conventional thinking about gender and language.


Here we have non-fiction that can you make you laugh or cry – all at once. Uri provides a painfully brilliant defence of why it’s high time to update our language...


Complex and frankly gripping.

Dag og Tid

As Uri writes brilliantly by way of introduction: We live in one of the most equal countries in the world. It is for precisely that reason that it is interesting to see to what extent inequality is laid bare by our language.


Powerful and vivid on language and gender ... I urge everyone to read this book. It will give you the answers to many of your questions, you will have a-ha moments, and become more critical of your own language and social interaction with others of all genders.


Helene Uri

Christian Elgvin

Helene Uri holds a PhD in linguistics and worked for twelve years at the University of Oslo as an Associate Professor before she left to become a full time writer.

She made her literary debut in 1995 with a novel for adolescents, Anna on Friday and published her first novel for adults Deep Red 315 in 2001. Honey Tongues was published to acclaim the following year: Bergens Tidende described it as a book which “tears apart the myth that all children are kind”. Now a full time writer, she has a doctorate in applied linguistics, and continues to write on the subject in newspapers and journals.

The time she spent as an academic at the University of Oslo and other educational institutions provided her with a wealth of material upon which she drew to write Norway’s first campus novel, The Best Among Us published in 2006. This novel stayed on the National bestseller list for 52 weeks and has become a cult novel, sold in 80, 000 copies.

Rights sold to

Denmark, Klim

Other titles

Clearing Out (Rydde ut) 2013:
Bitches (Kjerringer) 2011
A Righteous Man (Den rettferdige) 2009
The Best Among Us (De beste blant oss) 2006
Nylon Angel (Engel av nylon) 2003
Honey Tongues (Honningtunger) 2002

Foreign rights

Gyldendal Agency
P.O. Box 6860 St. Olavs plass
NO-0130 Oslo
Tel: +47 957 81 640
[email protected]


Awarded the Brage Prize 2018

Edited March 04, 2019 by Gyldendal Agency