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Bookmark and Share Paper 3434

Coffee and Danish in Sanpete County, Utah: An Exploration of Food Rituals and Language Shift
Elizabeth Peterson
80-87 (complete paper or proceedings contents)

Abstract

In contemporary U.S. culture, coffee and Danish is a classic combination. In this article, the combination refers not to coffee and Danish pastry, but to coffee and the Danish language. Specifically, the article offers an initial investigation into the perceived relationship between the coffee ritual (still a prominent feature of European Scandinavian life today) and how it relates to another cultural artifact, the Danish language, in the discourse of people of Danish descent in Sanpete County, Utah. Sanpete County is unusual in U.S. settlement history due to the fact that the majority of its immigrant settlers were from Denmark. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which offered the impetus for White Americans and Europeans to settle Utah, recommended that immigrants give up coffee and their heritage language. This investigation, making use of interview data, indicates that for at least the first generations, these cultural artifacts were not readily abandoned, and that for some they interacted as sustained components of a Danish identity.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Immigrant Languages in the Americas (WILA 8)
edited by Jan Heegård Petersen and Karoline Kühl
Table of contents
Printed edition: $220.00