“ Learning to Serve: The Language and Literacy of Food Service Workers.” Tony Mirabelli
How does Mirabelli “enter the conversation”?
So, what is his argument?
“ there is complexity and skill that may go unnoticed by the general public or institutions such as universities” (668).
“ relatively little specific attention and analysis have been give[n] to the literacy skills and language abilities needed to do this work” (669).
Waiters and waitresses in a diner
Turn to someone next to you. Together, define “multiliteracies” in your own words.
Is it a discourse community?
Genres: The Menu
Why does Mirabelli focus on the genre of the menu? Is it an effective focus for him as he attempts to answer his research question? Why or why not?
What does it mean to “read” a customer?
What are the consequences of not being able to “read” a customer? (think about Al, or John’s “hi - sure - NO, I got it” (683)).
Can you read a customer?
Customer with a specific issue
Waiter wins if he/she figures out what the issue is
Customer wins if the waiter can’t guess
Socially Embedded Meaning
Mirabelli writes that “the meaning of words in a menu are embedded in the situation, its participants, and the balance of power and authority” (678). What does this mean?
Examples from our game; from Mirabelli
How is Mirabelli’s claim that literacy is “embedded in social practice” (670) similar to Grant-Davie’s discussion of rhetorical situation?
Rhetorical situation and socially embedded meaning
To get a good tip, satisfy the customer’s “private appetite” (675)
Limitations of the restaurant, how busy it is, how much info is on the menu, etc.
What about you?
What kinds of “multiliteracies” are required in your community?
Do you now or have you ever participated in a discourse community that is strongly stereotyped in some way? What are the stereotypes? Do the “multiliteracies” required in the community help to refute those stereotypes?
Mirabelli talks briefly about issues of authority, suggesting that waiters and waitresses can gain a degree of control over their customers by using “magic words,” and knowing how to read their customers. Do you agree or disagree with his claim? In what ways do these workers have authority? Are there contexts in which they might lose some of their authority?