Language Teaching

Plenary Speeches

Sweet talking: Food, language, and democracy

Guy Cooka1

a1 The Open University, UK


At a time of diminishing resources, the sum of apparently minor personal decisions about food can have immense impact. These individual choices are heavily influenced by language, as those with vested interests seek to persuade individuals to act in certain ways. This makes the language of food politics a fitting area for an expanding applied linguistics oriented towards real-world language-related problems of global and social importance. The paper draws upon five consecutive research projects to show how applied linguistics research may contribute to public policy and debate, and also how, by entering such new arenas, it can develop its own methods and understanding of contemporary language use.

(Online publication September 10 2009)


Revised version of a plenary paper presented on 22 March 2009 at the American Association for Applied Linguistics conference in Denver, Colorado, USA.