Stinky tofu and smelly cheese: food and identity in Taiwanese-foreign couples’ conversations

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This paper investigates how multilingual couples with different languages and cultural backgrounds construct their identities through their conversations about food from a socio-cultural perspective. It is based on the interviews, observations, and naturally occurring conversations between three multilingual couples. The participants consist of Taiwanese nationals, and their foreign partners (Irish, Italian, and South-African) living in England. In order to understand such talk in interaction, the study takes an interactional sociolinguistic approach to analyze how their discourse identities are performed. The study attempts to provide a better understanding of multilingual couples’ interaction in food and identity contexts through a microanalysis of the sequential turns. The analysis demonstrates how the three Taiwanese-foreign couples use different discourse strategies to negotiate and share their different attitudes, preferences, cultural values and identities during conversations about food.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-81
Number of pages25
JournalTranslocal Chinese: East Asian Perspectives
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Food choice
  • Identity
  • Intercultural communication
  • Sociolinguistics


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