Linguistics and food studies

Structural and historical connections

Authored by: Anthony F. Buccini

Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782647
eBook ISBN: 9780203819227
Adobe ISBN: 9781136741661


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The chapter illustrates ways in which food studies intersect with linguistics, the study of language structured as a system, including variation and change over time and space. Work in the allied fields of anthropology, semiotics, and discourse analysis is briefly touched upon, followed by a survey of lexical semantic analyses of taste terms, verbs of ingestion, and cooking methods. Especially relevant for food history are etymologies and other historical linguistic research that can shed light on cultural history not documented in written texts. A critical methodological appraisal is included, to guide non-specialists in judging the validity of purported etymologies.

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