Vol. 69 No. 4 (2021)

Snack Names In China: Patterns, Types, and Preferences

Dan Zhao
Hunan Normal University

Published 2021-11-15


  • snack names,
  • corpus linguistics,
  • name preferences,
  • culinary onomastics,
  • China


Previous studies of snack names have focused on their psychological impact on consumers in different cultures but have tended to ignore their onomastic features. This study helps to address this gap based on a corpus of 121 snack names extracted from the book Chinese Famous Local Delicious Food and Special Products. This study explores the patterns of syllables, sounds, and name types of snack names compiled in this small-scale corpus. In this investigation, it was found that descriptive names were the dominant type in the corpus and the most frequently described type feature was the food ingredient. Interestingly, metaphorical names in the corpus were in general found to be related to shape similarities. Contrary to previous findings on dish names and drinking brand names in China, the snack names examined in this corpus showed a preference for three-syllable patterns and “light” or “flat” tones. After discussing these and other findings of this research, this paper discusses what insights this study may provide for other name investigations that utilize corpus linguistic approaches.


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