Food and identity in Eegimaa and Wolof

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This study examines loanwords, coined native words and code-switching in taster meal conversations and how their use relates to food identity and linguistic identity in Wolof and Eegimaa (two languages spoken in Senegal). The analysis reveals that the use of loanwords by Wolof and Eegimaa participants in food assessment is not always motivated by practical reasons. In many cases, foreign words are used to refer to foreign food as a demarcation/ evaluation strategy to distance the participants from the foreign food which is viewed as a symbol of foreign culture. Results clearly show that not only the food people eat, but also the kind of language they use to describe it constitute a means for expressing their sense of membership in a community.


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