Gluttonic Discourse: Peculiarities Of Semantics And Verbalisation


The article discusses linguistic peculiarities of gluttonic discourse, both in its oral and written forms. Based on culinary blogs and culinary TV-shows semantic, verbal and some stylistic productive means are discussed. The purpose of the study was not only to find out the linguistic dominants (which are subdivided into corresponding groups) within the research topic but also to point out the peculiarities both within oral and written forms of gluttonic discourse. Gluttonic discourse in a general way is viewed as a system of culinary process with the approximate stages of food processing, preparation of food for cooking process, cooking process itself and food consumption. All of the mentioned elements can be culture specific. Methods of the research reflect the area of the study and include context analysis, cognitive analysis, analysis of a linguistic personalia. Content and stylistic analysis help to identify main features of the studied discourse. General theoretical discussion on gluttonic discourse is included, as well. Results show the prevalence of emotive means, written gluttonic discourse is characterised by the usage of emphatic means - capitalisation, graphons, deliberate violation of norms. Wide usage of epithets show individual attitude of a chef to the dish being prepared, participants of the situation and the overall context. 

Keywords: Gluttonic discourseverbal levelsemantic levelstylistic meanswritten gluttonic discourse


Food is traditionally considered not only a source of energy that keeps us alive and our body functioning in the correct way, it can also affect our mood greatly and on a more general level it can indicate our preferences, attitude on health and nature. Food can easily identify a person’s social status and culture. Traditions connected with food and certain products are strongly associated with religion, travelings, traditions, our attitude towards food makes us different from many other species.

Food in all its elements (products, etiquette, preparation, customs, etc) is by all means, culture specific as it is formed by people and conditioned by the surroundings and all the elements of culture formed being formed through centuries and affected by neighbouring territories, contacts. It is agreed that many cultures a both common and different in what we call food. Today, we can observe two parallel tendences: people try to maintain culturally specific food customs and simultaneously they also modify them so food customs become either more internationalised or blended (including elements of various cuisines). The world of food becomes truly multicultural.

Speaking about the trends in food culture we can notice interconnection and interdependence of local and globalised cuisine which becomes a must in a range of countries. Culinary customs of various regions are adopted and adapted so the dishes become available (in terms of habits) for a vast majority of residents. Regional cuisine is widely a widely recognised cultural phenomena. Here we can speak about two extremes – food being a unified and globalised issue and food, being a strictly local phenomena. The middle position, that is diversity of food experiences happes greatly due to globalisation processes.

All types of identity to some extent are connected with the idea of food or some certain products or ways of their preparation. We all think that we are unique and it is, as well, food, that makes us different: “We eat this. They eat that.”

The way you drink your tea: either with lemon or varenye, ice cold or hot, spiced, only at a certain time of the day, with special pastry only. Our tea traditions will uncover your nationality.

Interest in the field of culture-food-cuisine correlation appears in the works of anthropologists and culturologists in the 19th century. Scholars study food habits across the globe. National cuisine is viewed as a part of cultural heritage. In 2003, UNESCO adopted special convention (i.e. set of rules, regulations, practices and approaches) with the aim to save “exemplars of the intangible heritage of humanity – practices, traditions, and cultural expressions – on a global register” including national cuisines, as in DeSoucey, Elliott, and Schmutz ( 2019).

Food can be referred to a specific sign system consisting of hierarchical signs that have some definite cultural meaning. Cuisine as a culture’s foods and styles of cooking can be called a special sign system that combines cultural dominants linked by the idea of consumption. Being a sign system and a cultural element, cuisine is in the center of scientific interest of various disciplines: cultural studies, communication, semiotics, sociology and linguistics. E.g. Stereotyping can be based on food greately. We strongly associate England with 5 o’clock tea and oatmeal, Germany provokes food assciations with beer, sauerkraut and sausages. French people are thought to be frog-eaters, etc. Other associations can be found in Kudła ( 2016). Food-related borrowings are discussed in Matsumoto and Вritain ( 2019).

To study extra lingual, pragmatic, socio-cultural, compositional, stylistic and other peculiarities of cuisine or gastronomic culture, scholars apply to various definitions of a discourse. Olyanich ( 2004) implements the term “gastronomic discourse” referring it to "a special type of communication related to the state of food resources and the processes of their processing and consumption". Later the same author defines this type of discourse as gluttonic. The scholar defines “gluttonic discourse” as a specific kind of mass-and information communication, which characterizes the whole system of culinary process consisting of the following stages: food processing, preparation of food for cooking process, cooking process itself and food consumption (Ibid.). But suggested stages do not fully embrace all the structural elements of a cultural cuisine.

Other scholars offer such terms as: “gastronomic discourse” Golovnickaya ( 2007); Olyanich ( 2003), “restaurant discourse” Davis ( 2009). We should notice that the most popular term in contemporary linguistics works is gluttonic discourse. Still, analysing Scopus database and investigating the usage of the terms in 2015-2020 in areas “Arts and Humanities” and “Social Studies” (the closest study areas) we see that the notion “gastronomic discourse” is used in 13 publications, “culinary-gastronomic discourse” (mostly written in three words) is traced in three publications, whereas “restaurant discourse” is the most frequent with 59 search results.

Multilingual gluttonic texts provide a wide field for linguistic and cultural research, due to the fact that the gluttonic discourse, like any cultural cuisine have some universal and some culturally specific features. The cultural cuisine reflects unique food ingredients, culinary traditions, values, gastronomic taboos and etiquette. These differences explain issues of both intercultural communication and translation process.

Describing peculiarities of gluttinic discourse, Olyanich ( 2004) uses the term gluttonim as an element of this type of communication, which role is to specify linguocultural and ethno-cultural features of nominations related to food preparation and consuming.

Glutonims can be identified and studied in various recipes, menus, rules of gastronomic behaviour, rituals and taboos. As cultural cuisine represents a definite culture being its important component, gluttonic discourse can be defined as a sign system in which “cultural icons, national self-identification, personal identification and subjective attitude (taste), tender characteristics and social (class) characteristics are concentrated" (Ibid., p. 50). Ermakova, Gaidukova, Sopova, Shekhovtseva, and Razdabarina ( 2018) and Ermakova ( 2011) state that the gluttonic discourse is a complex communicative phenomenon that correlates with the linguistic reflection of the physiological needs of the human body in the field of food preferences.

Gluttonic discourse can be viewed as a special type of verbal-social discourse in conjunction with socio-cultural, religious-ethical, and linguistic-philosophical properties, the purpose of which is to achieve “gluttonic communication". Verbal signs in gluttonic discourse are represented by lexemes nominating ingredients, etiquette phrases during the process of eating itself ( Leontovich, 2016).

In everyday social communication Gluttonic discourse is one of the most common among all the other types of discourses. The range of gluttonic texts of various genres gives a rich field for linguistic research. Discourse connected with all spheres of food – as a cultural, cooking and communicative phenomena can be traced in a wide set of scientific papers ( ex.: Sedykh, Lukin, Georgieva, Puiu, & Nikonov, 2019). The process of glutton communication includes an extensive system of interrelated language signs that have a gastronomic orientation: linguistic signs of food, tools, actions, states connected with food making, preparing and eating. All these signs have a verbal form that can be observed and analyzed with the help of various methods.

One of the by-side aspects when studying the discourse of this type, which is underestimated in oral gluttonic discourse and overviewed in Matwick and Matwick ( 2019) are bloopers, which are the moments that interfere with the current stage declining from the plot by misspoken, mispronounced or incorrectly stressed words. Here can be traced the concepts of sociolinguistics which are successfully exploited by linguists - face, backstage and frontstage as introduced by Goffman. The paper, which is mentioned above, analyzes bloopers of five most popular American food shows. Another paradigm of gluttonic discourse study can be found in Chen and Eriksson ( 2019) where gluttonic discourse is viewed as a means of storytelling. Healthy and ethical eating habits make the trend of the 21 century, which is analysed in Eriksson and Machin ( 2020).

Gluttonic discourse like any kind of discourse uses certain professionally-oriented signs: terminology, stable turns, and characteristic morphosyntactic structures. It presupposes the presence of participants, chronotope, goals, strategies, and values ( more in Olyanich, 2003; Paradowski, 2018).

We have conventions that direct our food rituals, habits. Conventions that give the rituals and traditions some sort of longevity. A food system, which is not just a simple set of products and foods, forming a casual combination, but complex set, within which each elemennt bears a certain significance, can be treated as a kind of gastronomic or gluttonic grammar.

The basic level of this food system refers to a great variety of available animal and vegetable\fruits elements; and these items of products, like morphemes in language, create the main units of meaning in any gluttonic discourse and make the basement for the further repertory of numerous dishes. This basis depends on circumstances of culture as a system of values, norms, restrictions and taboos. It is defined by geographical, economic, social and religious environment. This or that item of this basis roots in the environmental resources of the region and is closely connected with commercial demands. Different elements can be accessible to some category of people and inaccessible to other people. Local marketplace and technologies also define the demand and the level of prices. Thus, this or that product can be highly demanded or strictly rejected due to combination of various factors. Individual (like various restrictions, ex. vegetarianism or special diets) and collective choice and socio-cultural context (religious taboos) define the peculiarities of any national cuisine.

The level of morphology introduces how products are represented and implemented into the culinary discourse of consumers. The morphemes make words, like cooking procedures turn products into dishes. When one basic product or ingredient is taken, under the influence of cooking procedures it creates a different result. Culinary instrumentalities play a key role in the transformation of a product into a certain dish. So, the constituents of culinary discourse are in certain relations, like units of meaning. Each culinary action has its own meaning (ex.: adding of any kind of sweetener like honey, sugar or raisins to bread, pasta, or crust changes it out of the nutritional and ordinary dish into the realm of the final sweet, a festive dessert, some delicacy or even a holiday extraordinary food).

On the syntactical level of gluttonic grammar (the aim of which is to give meaning to the lexicon and its various morphological elements) we can study the meal that manages the dishes determining their logical sequence, successful combinations, and reciprocal compatibility. Just as in any literature creation, a short story or a novel, where doers take part in the narrative, the meat dish or grain dish is described according to the principles of cuisine in the cultural aspect and requires of different social classes.

The main subjects in the syntactical organisation of the meal (ex. fruits may precede, accompany, or follow the main dish; some dressings can change the nature and quality of the main dish) define the order of the accompanying dishes. The choice of dishes and their ingredients are related not only with economic reasons, such as the availability of various items and their prices, but also reflect cultural taboos and restrictions.

And finally, we can speak about gastronomic rhetoric which describes the applicability of utterances to the arguments and outcomes we are about to create. In the context of the gluttonic discourse, it indicates the way the food is cooked, served, and eaten. Here we can compare fast food and slow food traditions; eating in silence or having some banquet with a loud accompaniment.

Problem Statement

The discourse of various types and methods of their analysis are under investigation in modern linguistics. Mostly, it is connected with dynamic development of the language and lexical and-semantic changes which are constantly occurring in the system of every type of discourse. Being popularied not only by everyday needs but by mass culture as well, gluttonic discourse is aimed not only on formal information (mere information), but on communication, self-presentation as well (or mostly?). Thus the current transformation of food/eating-connected practices is most evident in everyday spheres. Another aspect of interest in globalisation and glocalisation of common practices (gluttonic discourse being included into the category). So some culture-specific and common to all cultures linguistic trends are to be partially discussed. Being formed in both oral and written forms, factual information is embroidered with linguistic and extralinguistic means adding to expressivity and personal fulfillment. The study of the mentioned means is of great interest as in a given culture and language both common and specific features can be pointed out.

Research Questions

The basic and evident issues of the study are: what are the main definitions of gluttonic discourse? Is there interrelation of notions of the same or semi-same field (i.e. gluttonic discourse vs gastronomic discourse vs restaurant discourse vs cooking discourse, etc)? Can verbal and oral forms of the discourse discussed be studied together? Does the national/traditional cuisine changes the way gluttonic discourse is represented? If yes, to what extent? What are the specific stylistic, lexical and semantic means of verbalisation gluttonic discourse? Having analysed gluttonic discourse as a certain type of verbal and social communication as presented in works and latest research, the above questions will be answered.

Purpose of the Study

The key purpose of both practical and theoretical research is to clarify the definition and characteristics of a gluttonic discourse; to find and analyse linguistic (stylistic, semantic, syntactical) means of representation oral and written forms of the discourse studied and to identify frequent and/or productive strategies as represented in the study the linguistic peculiarities of the gluttonic discourse in its oral and written forms; to define the most productive stylistic and semantic means of that discourse.

Research Methods

The research methods of this project help to realize the main purpose of the study: discursу and contextual analysis, cognitive analysis, including the analysis of concepts, structural, pragmatic and semantic analysis. linguistic-personal, structural-semantic, linguistic-pragmatic analysis. On a more general level common scientific methods of analysis and synthesis are applied. Analysis is necessary stage of cognition, making it possible to study the parts of the whole, to reveal relationships common to all parts, and thereby point out the features of the structure of the phenomenon being a whole.


The research of various scientific papers devoted to the study of the gluttonic discourse give the authors of this paper an ability to define gluttonic discourse as a specific kind of communication, that comprises food nomination, food processing, preparation of food for cooking process, cooking process itself and food consumption in conjunction with socio-cultural, religious-ethical, and linguistic-philosophical properties the purpose of which is to achieve gluttonic communication.

The authors of this paper are mostly focused on verbal characteristics of oral and written gluttonic discourse. Valuable theoretical additions to the study can be found in Olyanich ( 2003), Leer ( 2019). Scripted communication, not normally reflecting peculiarities of a linguistic personality is described in Chan and Chandra-Sagaran ( 2019).

The verbal-semantic language level is characterized by the bearer`s eagerness to find appropriate words, create and understand texts, handle linguistic norms. On this language level one can find stylistic devices: phonetical, lexical and syntactical mostly.

On the verbal-semantic language level one can trace certain stereotypical language frames and speech standards. Through them the casual, every-day command of the language is seen. The psychological aspect of the language is also clearly revealed through the stylistic organization of the speech. The gluttonic discourse fully demonstrates all these speech variabilities.

Having analyzed much of the oral and written gluttonic discourse, we can observe that there is a certain set of stylistic devices that occur more often than others. On the phonetical level one can find a lot of exclamations, showing strong emotions of chefs and cooks. Very often these emotions are shown through graphon. The most common types are: capitalization ( INCREDIBLE! ); hyphenation ( dis-gus-ting ); multiplication ( aaawesome ). Combined variants can also be met: TTTAS-TY . Graphon is also represented through deliberate violation of writing norms: " Idiotsandwichrightthere ”, which shows how highly emotional the speech of the chef is. In this example we come across a euphemism. Written gluttonic discourse (e.g. food blogs) can be further traced in Hsiao ( 2019).

On the lexical level we come across gluttonims, which are the names of the signs of food and its components. Their semantic structure contains the signs, indicating the food origin, the process of cooking, including methods, the place of cooking, kitchen utensils, serving of dishes. The gluttonims are nationally and culturally specified.

On the lexical level the most common devices are epithets, which carry out the individual attitude of cooks and chefs: terrible, tasty, fascinating, light, fluffy, delicious , etc. Euphemisms, which are used to conceal the negative emotions of the chef, pointed at the wrong actions of the assistants. Metaphors: King of all rice, a fluffy kitten (about a cream cake), air-like (light dishes). Metaphors help to imagine how tasty the dishes are and are often used when praising the result or advertising the would-be course at the very beginning, further reading on metaphors can be ( Musolff, 2017). Quite often they are accompanied with hyperboles, like in the example: King of all rice, the tastiest on earth (I have ever tried), etc. On the lexical level of the language we should also pay attention to keywords. They are frequently repeated words and carry the semantic weight. They are mostly used for descriptive purposes: “Great food, great atmosphere. Great food, great outside .”, for repetitive purposes: “ What would you change, nothing. What would you change, nothing.

The last example is a pretty case of epiphora, the semantic weight is on the final word. Syntactical parallelism is commonly traced on the sentence level of the gluttonic discourse. We have come across many epiphoras and anaphoras, which accentuate the key words and the persistence of the cooks` speech through them: “Being a chef is the best job in the world. Being a chef never seems like a job, it becomes a true passion. Being assertive and somewhat really firm has to be backed up with being fair. ” Chain repetitions can also be frequently met: “ Yeah. It`s table seven, yeah it's all in the lift, yeah the other two stakes have been up and down like f***ing a bee tip Missy`s knickers, serve it, please!”. When speakers experience stress and tension, they are apt to use catch repetitions: “ Show! Show how to cook a muscle ”. Right, okay right, so show; Show you how to cook a muscle ”. The development of the oral gluttonic discourse is a vivid process, a process “on airs”, so, we come across language economy. The speech of chefs and cooks is rapid, fast, they deliberately omit links, shorten words. Elliptical and one-member sentences are common: “ Quickly!”, “Got it ?”. Exclamatory and question marks show the high emotional state of the speakers. Language economy is exploited when describing culinary processes: “ Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy ”. Here we have an example of the anacoluthon construction.

On the syntactic level of the language we come across praising and compliments. That is how chefs stimulate their cooks to work better, to achieve better results: “ thank god a beautiful apple pie the flavour” \\” the flavour amazing ”. During culinary master classes chefs and cooks use praise as the motivational aspect of communication for students (people, who attend classes to learn how to cook). These master classes always start with the assuring that one can do the same as famous chefs. The reaction of the attendees is usually a positive one: smiles, thanks and tears of happiness.

The gluttonic discourse abounds in phraseological units. “ Who drinks beer, thinks beer”; “In for a penny, in for a pound ”. Sometimes, phraseological units are violated: “ Why these crocodile tears? ” (when something goes wrong). Generally speaking, linguistic analyses of translated gluttonic texts show wrong choices of terms and not the best variants of adaptations that result in the loss of cultural references and mistranslations. More than that, used in isolation some terms are insufficient to guarantee understanding of fluent texts. Specific phraseology is also essential for verbal texts ( Rebechi & da Silva, 2017). Further on the article discusses the role of phraseology in recipes.

On the level of supra-phrasal unit the gluttonic discourse is characterized by irony, based on the discrepancy of what is being said and what is really meant. It creates a humorous effect, for the audience to perceive what is said positively. Very often irony occurs hand in hand with personification, for example: “ Му gram could do better ” – a favourite phrase of Gordon Ramsay. At times irony may turn into sarcasm, carrying out a negative, offensive connotation: “ How clever you are !” (an address of the chef to the cooks). In the second season of “Hell`s Kitchen” relational tension grows and sarcastic remarks make 12% more than in the first season. Quite often irony touches upon the societal or political context: “ This cake is so dark and rich; a Kardashian wants to marry it ”; “ This dish is so unprepared Russia is calling it the Olympics ”. A famous chef and showman Gordon Ramsay states that irony helps to make the kitchen atmosphere non-standard and creative. He also thinks that it gives birth to a special “kitchen language”. To understand this “kitchen irony” one has to be aware of the world events. Irony is frequently rendered through allusions:

“This soup is so watery. It stopped the drought in California”;

“This fish is so raw, he`s still finding nemo”;

“The pork is so raw, it`s still singing ‘Hakuna Matata’”.

““This pizza is so disgusting, if you take it to Italy you’ll get arrested.””

“The chicken is so frozen. It just asked me “Do you want to build a snowman?”

The popularity of modern culinary shows is highly dependent on the oratory aspect of the language. Stylistic devices make the gluttonic discourse alive, exciting for the recipients. During castings, producers look for those chefs, who are not just perfect cooks but are brilliant communicators. “The kitchen language” is the nucleus of the culinary discourse and demands much more further research.

The texts of culinary recipes are common for our everyday life but as the type of text they are less researched. They belong to different functional styles: scientific style (cookery books); publicistic style (articles with culinary recipes); colloquial style (everyday conversations connected with culinary themes); belles-lettres style (novels).

As for the functional approach, the main functions are: to advertise, to inform, to impress, to entertain. To influence the reader`s feelings and make him try a dish, the following verbal means are used: exclamations, rhetoric questions, nominalism, impersonal and passive constructions, present and past participles.

Being studied on different levels, various peculiarities can be traced. E.g. Cesiri ( 2019), applied various methods to the study of culinary concepts, this research shows that gluttonic texts that appear before recipes is the manifestation of the unique culinary cooking style of this or that chef and the cooking crew.


The current research represents the linguistic peculiarities of the gluttonic discourse in its oral and written forms. Productive means of the gluttonic discourse are: stylistic and semantic. Modern culinary blogs and TV-shows fully illustrate the verbal peculiarities of the gluttonic discourse.

The aim of the research is to find out the linguistic dominants (which are subdivided into corresponding groups) within the researched topic, to point out stylistic and semantic peculiarities of oral and written forms of the gluttonic discourse is achieved. The modern gluttonic discourse is generally viewed as a system of culinary processes: the set stages of food processing, preparation of food for the cooking process, the notion of the cooking process itself, and the would-be food consumption. These constituents are culturally-specific.

The current research is rendered by means of the context analysis, cognitive analysis, analysis of a linguistic personalia, which suit the research of such a kind better. Content and stylistic analyses help to identify the main features of the studied discourse. They are: the productive importance of gluttonic terminology, the semantic filling of oral and written forms, the structure of the discourse and its diachronic development, stylistic devices on all language levels. The stylistic aspect is represented by the prevalence of emotive and emphatic means: graphons, the wide usage of epithets, metaphors, which show the individual attitude of a chef to the dish being prepared, parallelism and violations of norms. The linguistic personalia can be studied through the research of participants of the situation and the overall context.


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03 August 2020

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

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Dobrikova, X. A., German, N. F., & Kozhukhova, I. V. (2020). Gluttonic Discourse: Peculiarities Of Semantics And Verbalisation. In N. L. Amiryanovna (Ed.), Word, Utterance, Text: Cognitive, Pragmatic and Cultural Aspects, vol 86. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 383-392). European Publisher.