Language of Culinary Discourse and Cultural Preservation: A case study of first- and second-generation Punjabi Speakers

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Dr. Aneela Gill
Muhammad Riaz
Amara Batool


Food is an important aspect of any culture and so is language.  The study hypothesizes that the language in which the culinary discourse takes place plays a role in preserving that language’s (culinary) culture. In order to test this hypothesis, dinner-time conversations of six families have been recorded: three Punjabi-speaking families and three Urdu-Punjabi families (in which the second generation speaks Urdu).  Moreover, three Punjabi speakers and three Urdu-Punjabi speakers are interviewed.  The data thus collected are analyzed using van Dijk’s (1993) framework of critical discourse analysis, which is presented as a conceptual triangle that connects society, discourse, and social cognition. The findings of the study reveal that the Urdu-speaking second generation of Punjabi speakers demonstrates either an unfamiliarity or a dislike for traditional Punjabi food.  They are also found unaware of most of the culinary vocabulary, show a greater inclination towards fast food, and, therefore, exhibit a noticeable change in the culinary culture with the change in their language.

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