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May I Quote You on That?

By Stephen Spector

A guide to English grammar and usage for the twenty-first century, pairing grammar rules with interesting and humorous quotations from American popular culture.

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The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

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Academic Paper

Title: ‘One panini, two paninis…’: the grammar of Italian culinary culture in Britain today
Author: Jane Dunnett
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: I still recall, with a mixture of amusement and embarrassment, the time I took a visiting Italian friend to lunch in a café along London's Holloway Road. After studying the menu, he ordered a mozzarella and tomato panino – ‘so that'll be one panini for you’, jotted down the young woman behind the counter. My friend confirmed his choice by repeating it in a way that signified he could speak only for himself. And to make his point, he leaned somewhat on the singular -o of the ending, keen, I imagined, to avoid the kind of mix-up that leads to extra portions being brought to one's restaurant table in error. But to no avail: before proceeding to take his order, our waitress told my companion firmly, in an unmistakeably eastern European accent, that he would be having a ‘mozzarella and tomato panini’, and that was that.


This article appears IN English Today Vol. 29, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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