Language and Food
Verbal and nonverbal experiences
Polly E. Szatrowski | University of Minnesota
This book investigates the intricate interplay between language and food in natural conversations among people eating and talking about food in English, Japanese, Wolof, Eegimaa, Danish, German, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. It is a socio-cultural/ linguistic study of how adults/ children organize their language and bodies to (1) accomplish rituals and performances of commensality (eating together) and food-related actions, (2) taste, describe, identify and assess food, and influence others’ preferences, (3) create and reinforce individual and group identities through past experiences and stories about food, and (4) socialize one another to food practices, affect, taste, gender and health norms. Using approaches from linguistics, conversation analysis, ethnography, discursive psychology, and linguistic anthropology, this book elucidates the dynamic verbal and nonverbal co-construction of food practices, assessments, categories, and identities in conversations over and about food, and contributes to research on contextualized social, cultural, and cognitive activity, language and food, and cross-cultural understanding.
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 238] 2014. vi, 318 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins
Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction
Introduction to Language and Food: The verbal and nonverbal experiencePolly E. Szatrowski | pp. 3–28
Part 2: Process and structural organization
Negotiating a passage to the meal in four culturesWilliam O. Beeman | pp. 31–52
The structural organization of ordering and serving sushiSatomi Kuroshima | pp. 53–76
Part 3: Talking about the food while eating
It's delicious! How Japanese speakers describe food at a social eventMari Noda | pp. 79–102
Food and identity in Eegimaa and Wolof: We eat what we areMamadou Bassene and Polly E. Szatrowski | pp. 103–130
Modality and evidentiality in Japanese and American English taster lunches: Identifying and assessing an unfamiliar drinkPolly E. Szatrowski | pp. 131–156
Part 4: Experiences and stories related to food
Food experiences and categorization in Japanese talk-in-interactionChisato Koike | pp. 159–184
Repetition of words and phrases from the punch lines of Japanese stories about food and restaurants: A group bonding exerciseMariko Karatsu | pp. 185–208
Part 5: Talk about food with and among children
Family mealtimes, yuckiness and the socialization of disgust responses by preschool childrenSally Wiggins | pp. 211–232
Early experiences with food: Socializing affect and relationships in JapaneseMatthew Burdelski | pp. 233–256
“I needa cut up my soup”: Food talk, pretend play, and gender in an American preschoolAmy Sheldon | pp. 257–278
Healthy beverages? The interactional use of milk, juice and water in an ethnically diverse kindergarten class in DenmarkMartha Sif Karrebæk | pp. 279–300
Author index | pp. 301–303
Subject index | pp. 305–311
Food names and descriptor index | pp. 313–316
Commensality index | pp. 317–316
“Treating food as inextricably intertwined with culture, language, and social relations, Language and Food provides a unique exploration of cutting-edge contemporary scholarship. Making use of a range of research methodologies, including embodied language this book provides tantalizing food for thought about how diverse peoples of the world socialize taste, constitute their identity, and perform interpersonal rituals that sustain the social order through talk about food.”
Marjorie Harness Goodwin, University of California, Los Angeles
“Focused on the language pragmatics surrounding meals and food talk in several cultures, this fine collection of articles includes many devoted to the intersections among Japanese linguistic behavior and the social processes surrounding food: ritual and commensality, the fine points of ordering sushi, discussions of seasonality and the celebration of birthdays and holidays, and the socialization of children learning to eat (and talk) properly. This volume is aimed at a linguistic audience, and anthropologists and others interested in how Japanese food and culture are expressed in daily life will find it immensely fascinating.”
Theodore C. Bestor, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University
“Eating, particularly eating together, is much more than the consumption of food. It means bodily experience, it may mean excitement or disgust, and it means sociability. While having a meal together, we display identities and socialize our children. What food is and what it means to us emerges to a large degree through the language and the linguistic practices we employ while eating, when preparing or ordering food, and when talking about food experiences. This book offers a fascinating selection of empirically rich studies from different cultures focusing on these linguistic practices and resources, thereby paving the way for a new field of study at the intersection between language and culture.”
Peter Auer, Universität Freiburg, Germany
“While the study of language in the past has tended to focus on lexical semantics, the papers in this volume show how language plays a central role in making eating a means for rituals and socialization, and gives a cultural value to eating. Language and Food is an excellent study that opens up a new approach to our verbal and nonverbal sensory experiences of food based on analyses of everyday interaction in spontaneous conversations on and over food.”
Midori Takasaki, Ochanomizu University
“An excellent and wide-ranging contribution to an understudied problem: how we talk about food across languages and what it tells us about identity, socialization, ritual, and the organization of talk.”
Dan Jurafsky, Stanford University
“A particular strength of the volume is its treatment of non-verbal communication in food-related settings, especially when describing, identifying and assessing food, as well as in rituals and performances related to food, child socialization and food conversation analyses.”
Ana Tominc, Queen Margaret University, in Discourse and Society Vol. 27:4 (2016)
Cited by 18 other publications
Anchimbe, Eric A.
2020. Chapter 13. Naming food in English in multilingual Cameroon. In Talking about Food [IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society, 47], ► pp. 257 ff.
Bernhold, Quinten S. & Howard Giles
Cavanaugh, Jillian R. & Kathleen C. Riley
Dr Claire Seaman, Mr Bernie Quinn & Tominc, Ana
Ge, Bingbing, Eleanor Hamilton & Kajsa Haag
Karrebæk, Martha Sif, Kathleen C. Riley & Jillian R. Cavanaugh
Kawasaki, Yui, Rie Akamatsu & Petra Warschburger
Majlesi, Ali Reza, Anna Ekström & Lars-Christer Hydén
Protassova, Ekaterina & Maria Yelenevskaya
Strauss, Susan G., Heesun Chang & Yumi Matsumoto
2018. Chapter 9. Genre and the cultural realms of taste in Japanese, Korean, and U.S. online recipes. In Pragmatics of Japanese [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 285], ► pp. 219 ff.
2017. Verbalizing sensory experience for marketing success. Terminology. International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Issues in Specialized Communication 23:1 ► pp. 132 ff.
2022. Introduction to the volume. In The Language of Food in Japanese [Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research, 25], ► pp. 2 ff.
[no author supplied]
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