“It makes It the Market”

Speech Styles and Personae of Food-Market Hawking

  • Canaan Zengyu Lan University of Melbourne


Food-market speech is an under-researched area of third-wave variationist sociolinguistic studies. This study addresses the gap by exploring food-market speech styles and hawker personae. Combining descriptive auditory analysis and online questionnaire data, I demonstrate that situated discursive practices of prosodic variables construct both persuasive and aggressive speech styles, and they are stereotypically associated with female and male hawker personae. Furthermore, this paper also explores the ideological construal of hawking as authentic market-ness, further revealing the semiotic saliency and social significance of food-market hawking as not only the language of a speech community but the language of market.