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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

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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.

CUP AT LINGUIST

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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