One thing that became very clear to us throughout this work was the close connection between food and language. We have already pointed to this in our discussion of markets, vegetables, kitchens and restaurants (see for example Chapters 2 and 4), but here we want to look more closely at metrolingualism and talk about and around food. This is the everyday stuff of commensality (eating together), conviviality (living together – see Chapter 5) and language. On the construction sites, for example, different trade groups take their coffee and lunch breaks at distinct times. As noted in Chapter 2, the linguistic and ethnic affiliations that bring people together in particular areas of the construction industry therefore have concomitant linguistic implications. Here Drago (of Serbian background, moved to Australia a year and a half ago) and Marko (also of Serbian background but moved to Australia at the age of ten) are having a conversation while they eat chips and chicken kebabs bought by Drago from the corner chicken shop (across the street from Lynda’s Hungry Café – see Chapter 3), while Nemia (Fijian background) sits next to them eating his own lunch brought from home.

Excerpt 6.1 (M: Marko, D: Drago)

Serbian: italics; English: plain; Fijian derived word: bold (translations in brackets)

M: Pa jebi ga sad su krenuli. (Well, fuck it, they’ve started now.)

D: Pa sto ti … to radi? (But why … everything he does?)

M: Ne adresu gde je radio svaki dan i datum. [To Nemia] Ula have some chips mate, [to Drago] uzmi jos chips.

(No, the address where he worked every day and the date. Ula [address term] have some chips mate, take some more chips.)

[someone passes something to Marko]

M: Thank you.

D: Ovo Fanta, tako? (This is Fanta, yeah?)

M: Yep.

D: Nema kao kod nas jebi ga! (Not like ours fuck it!)

M: Yeah.

115D: Hoces jos koka kolu? (You want some more Coke?)

M: Ne hvala. Kod nas Fanta zelena jebote. Zuta, zuta. Pa uzmi. (No thank you. Back home Fanta is green fuck it. Yellow, yellow. Take it.)