Talking Pleasures, Writing Dialects. Outlining Research on Schmecka

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This text is written in English so that it may reach an international academic audience. However, if all academic research comes to be outlined in English we are to lose a lot. Here, we argue this by presenting the case of schmecka. Drawing on fieldwork done in the Austrian region of Vorarlberg, we suggest that the word schmecka differs from the factual ‘flavour perception’ investigated in physiology; from the culturally informed ‘sensory experiences’ explored by anthropologists and even from the sociological ‘tasting in practice’. For one, schmecka is shared between modest good food and assembled eaters; two, it draws together the English ‘tasting’ and ‘smelling’; and three, it has positive overtones. This means that using schmecka is not just judicious when writing about ‘others’, here the people of Vorarlberg. It also, more interestingly, allows ‘us’ to write in another way: one that foregrounds valuing rather than facting.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)772-788
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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