Eat their words
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Through a corpus-based discourse analysis of various texts from four different food-selling chains– Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Family Dollar – this study examines how different grocery stores use language to express representations of class identity of their intended clientele. Textual analysis shows that food advertisers target affluent consumers by using more complex language and words that emphasize the naturalness of products. To appeal to working class customers, food advertisers choose language that emphasizes convenience and value. Negation emerges as a discoursal trend used to create distinction. Overall, the patterns of language use that emerged in this corpus suggest that a class disparity exists in the experience of grocery shopping in the United States and that this disparity is linguistically-coded in grocery store discourse.