Thursday, May 14, 2009


My linguistics class is proving to be research -- or at least "search" -- heavy. Two projects, a midterm and final, are standard, but given that they're done over eight weeks not fifteen the load seems much more intense.

My group does not yet have a specific linguistic question to pose for our midterm (the midterm is just about posing the questing and doing the appropriate outside scholarly reading rather than answering the question--that's for the final) but we are considering the language of food writing. Particularly the sensuality/sexuality of food writing.

Well, the group has not yet settled on it, but I admit that I'm leaning toward it (and so's the prof) since I admitted that a recent writing obsession of mine has been conflating food and sex. It's blatant in "Cuttin Wood" my little red riding hood poem and a bit more subtle in my short story "Cake" probably because "Cake" is about pregnancy not the sex act itself and -- at least for my generation -- sex and pregnancy are thought about as separate entities. That seems to go against common sense, but it's true. Has it always been that way? Or is this a way of thinking based on readily available and fairly reliable birth control?


All this research has lead me to scholarly articles on linguistics, items with titles such as "Naming of Parts: Gender, Culture and Terms for the Penis Among American College Students." It's a 15 page scholarly (read: grant funded) statement of research. And then there's the article about how we conflate food language and sex language and we're really all just cannibals. Oddly enough, it made sense.

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