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The objective of this qualitative study was to analyze word structures used in naming food in Hat Yai District, Songkhla Province. Interviews were conducted with three groups of informants: a 15-25 year-old group, a 35-45 year-old group, and a 55 or more year-old group. Each group consisted of three informants from each ethnic community totaling 81 informants. In each age group, there were three ethnic sub-groups, namely, Thai, Malaysian-Thai, and Chinese-Thai. The results revealed that the word structures used in naming food could be classified into four categories according to the headwords as follows. 1) The type of food such as curry, rice, noodles, etc. 2) The cooking method such as boiling, stewing, steaming, frying, etc. 3) The main ingredient such as squid, shrimp, beef, pork leg, egg, etc., and 4) characteristics such as Foi Thong, and Piak Poon. Furthermore, in each categories there were sub-categories consisting of the head word and a modifier such as Kaeng Khua consisting of the type of the food as the headword and the cooking method as a modifier while Kaeng Kai consisting of the type of food as the headword and the main ingredient as a modifier.
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