The travel of the 'tongue' through time and space: A case study of translanguaging in the Macanese food

Lili Han, Zhisheng Wen, Hui Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Proto-Indo-European root of the word 'language' is dnghū, which means 'tongue'. Though the concept of 'translanguaging' has received enormous research enthusiasm in recent years in both theoretical conceptualization and pedagogical applications, most research has focused on its prefix 'trans-' (i.e., the boundary-breaking ideology) and its suffix '-ing' (i.e., the on-going process), while its stem '-language-', that is, the 'tongue' itself has received less attention. In the current paper, we aim to explore how translanguaging is enacted in the Macanese food (e.g., Fat Tea, or Chá Gordo in Portuguese) through absorbing and mixing multiple flavors or tongues, including Portuguese, Malaysian, Indian, Japanese, Cantonese and some African cuisines. In particular, we highlight their diversifying fusion tastes by tracing the Portuguese maritime expansion itinerary routes alongside their multilingual naming practices (Bacalhau, Minchi, African Chicken) in tandem with the transcending memories (from the past to the present). Overall, it is argued that through the analytical lens of the translanguaging perspective, the tongues between the tastes of the food and the languages spoken allow us to peer into the critical values, identities and relationships of the multilingual Macanese group in Macao.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Chinese
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • Macanese food
  • Macao
  • multilingualism
  • tongues
  • translanguaging


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