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The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu
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The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu [Format Kindle]

Dan Jurafsky

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Stanford University linguist and MacArthur Fellow Dan Jurafsky dives into the hidden history of food.

Why do we eat toast for breakfast, and then toast to good health at dinner? What does the turkey we eat on Thanksgiving have to do with the country on the eastern Mediterranean? Can you figure out how much your dinner will cost by counting the words on the menu?

In The Language of Food, Stanford University professor and MacArthur Fellow Dan Jurafsky peels away the mysteries from the foods we think we know. Thirteen chapters evoke the joy and discovery of reading a menu dotted with the sharp-eyed annotations of a linguist.

Jurafsky points out the subtle meanings hidden in filler words like "rich" and "crispy," zeroes in on the metaphors and storytelling tropes we rely on in restaurant reviews, and charts a microuniverse of marketing language on the back of a bag of potato chips.

The fascinating journey through The Language of Food uncovers a global atlas of culinary influences. With Jurafsky's insight, words like ketchup, macaron, and even salad become living fossils that contain the patterns of early global exploration that predate our modern fusion-filled world.

From ancient recipes preserved in Sumerian song lyrics to colonial shipping routes that first connected East and West, Jurafsky paints a vibrant portrait of how our foods developed. A surprising history of culinary exchange—a sharing of ideas and culture as much as ingredients and flavors—lies just beneath the surface of our daily snacks, soups, and suppers.

Engaging and informed, Jurafsky's unique study illuminates an extraordinary network of language, history, and food. The menu is yours to enjoy.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  14 commentaires
25 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Stick a Feather in Your Hat and Call it Macaroni 27 août 2014
Par takingadayoff - Publié sur
What do the chewy coconut cookies I know as macaroons have to do with the French almond cookies called macarons? Is it just a coincidence they have practically the same name? A misunderstanding? Stanford linguist Dan Jurafsky not only explains the relationship between the two, but shows how macaroni is also related, linguistically speaking.

The Language of Food is a collection of long essays about the linguistics, origins, and usages of words having to do with food. Each chapter covers another way in which food and language combine to reveal quite a lot about who we are and who we were. As humans, we really only need a few words and a few foods to sustain life, but we've managed to turn both into entertainment, and even art.

Along the way we get to learn how we came to "toast" an occasion with alcohol (it actually did involve toasted bread at one time) and how ice cream was invented. There are discussions on how the language of menus differs from a hundred years ago and on how marketers invent brand names for food items.

Jurafsky keeps a casual tone while divulging a massive amount of information. I believe this is his first book for a general audience, and hope there will be more.
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Enlightening and entertaining 11 septembre 2014
Par C. C. S. Ryan - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Easily one of the most compelling books I've read in a long time: fascinating if you love food, language, or history. Jurafsky has a clear-eyed view of how cultures interact, not to mention serious linguistic expertise, and he's an entertaining writer. This makes for a great combination with broad appeal. (I can think of about a dozen people I know who would enjoy receiving this as a gift.)

Some of the stories are just mindblowing, even though I thought I knew a lot about both etymology and food. For example, do you know how fish and chips, Japanese tempura, ceviche, and old Middle Eastern cooking are connected? Jurafsky will tell you. (And he'll have the endnotes to back it up, unlike a lot of cute little gift books and websites that make silly, undocumented claims about word or food origins.)
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Culinary linguistics 18 octobre 2014
Par Ed Battistella - Publié sur
In thirteen (a baker's dozen) readable chapters, Stanford linguist Dan Jurafsky shows what happens when linguists study the language of food. Combining etymological research and contemporary linguistic theory, the book offers a readable history of such staples as ketchup, turkey, salad, sushi, macaroni, sherbet, and even broader concepts like entrée and dessert. His well-researched vignettes provide something for readers to chew over, while the computational insights are surprise ingredients. We learn about the etymological relationship between salad, salsa, slaw, sauce and salami, for example, and between macaroons, macarons, and macaroni (and how the famous line from "Yankee Doodle Dandy" came about).

Beyond the etymological, we gain the insights phonetics and computational linguistics have to offer to the language of food and food marketing. Chapter 12 explains the sound symbolism of front and back vowels--why some foods sound thin (Triscuits) and others richly rotund (Rocky Road). In chapter 8 We learn about the descriptions of potato chip bags of various prices and, in chapter 1 (drawing on a data base of 6,500 menus), how expensive, moderate and inexpensive restaurants use language to shape our tastes: sides cost less than accompaniments, French more than English, and longer adjectives more than shorter ones. Point of view is important too: if you get the chef's choice it's likely to cost more than having it your way.

The book is salted (but not peppered) with historical and contemporary recipes, including Emily Dickinson's recipe for coconut cake. Jurafsky ends with the evolution of dessert (naturally) and suggests a "grammar of cuisine" which might describe what counts as a meal in various cultures and eras. Together with earlier efforts such as Adrienne Lehrer's book Wine and Conversation and the recent collection Culinary Linguistics, the grammar of cuisine is well into the main course.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Kindle Edition poorly formatted. 10 octobre 2014
Par J. W. family - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
The book is fine, but it was really, really poorly formatted for ebook-- a lot of the letters with accents are the wrong size and weight and many of the images are out of place and lists that are supposed to be side-by-side are interspersed with each other. It's v. annoying.
17 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Could use some proofreading 19 septembre 2014
Par William J Rhodes - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
The writing style is good, the material is interesting and appears to be well-researched, but I'm having trouble getting past the lack of editing/proofreading care. So far I've seen an opening parenthesis with no closing one, a parenthetical statement ending a sentence which also had a period ".).", and use of the word "affect" instead of "effect". Sadly, I'm only a dozen pages in.

None of that is a deal-breaker, and I'll finish the book, but I expected a bit more from a linguist.
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