Chapter 2: Ethnic Otherness and Foodsemy
2.0 Introduction The present chapter constitutes an attempt at providing a detailed onomasiologi- cal analysis of the linguistic manifestations of stereotypes relating to ethnic oth- erness in English� Thus, the guiding question is: How do (or did) native speakers of English describe a particular ethnic group?210 It is not argued here that this ap- proach can exhaust all possible aspects of the phenomenon� It should be born in mind that there are various linguistic exponents of ethnic stereotypes, ranging from individual lexical items, to idioms and proverbs, to features of discourse�211 However, as will become evident in the course of the present chapter, an onoma- siological study can contribute to a better understanding of ethnicity by provid- ing valuable information on how the concept under discussion is conceptualised and expressed� As mentioned in the introductory part of the present work, a cursory analysis of a sample of ethnic terms (Am�E� ethnonyms describing Mexicans, to be more specific) has revealed that about one-third of them are based on names of food- stuffs and thus may be classified as instances of foodsemy� Therefore, in the follow- ing sections special attention will be paid to the interface between the concepts of ethnicity and food, both of which play a crucial role in the life of individuals and societies, yet in different ways� Specifically, section 2�1, which deals with the phe- nomenon of foodsemy, discusses the role of food in the lives of humans, as well as the axiological aspects...
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