Wiggins & Keevallik: Enacting gustatory pleasure on behalf of another

Wiggins and Keevallik have published a new article on how mothers use ‘mm’ sounds when feeding their infants, entitled ‘Enacting gustatory pleasure on behalf of another: The multimodal coordination of infant tasting practices.’ Available in Symbolic Interaction, open access.


Tasting as a social practice can be enacted on behalf of others through precisely positioned nonlexical vocalizations as gustatory mmms. This paper uses multimodal interaction analysis to detail the coordination of parents and infants while starting to feed solid foods; data are from families in Scotland. The analysis focuses on the organization of parental mmms in relation to eye gaze, sequentiality, and the temporal coordination of hands, food, and mouths to demonstrate their use in beginning, continuing, and refocusing on taste. The paper proposes that in order to fully understand the sociality of tasting, infant feeding research should include real‐time vocal and embodied behavior, which is also key to the functional analysis of sensoriality‐related vocalizations at the margins of language.

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