Courses in the SS 20
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For people from the western world, the sense of smell does not play an important role in our everyday life. Aspects that are neglected or are considered less important have a tendency to be poorly lexicalized simply because we do not talk about them frequently. However, most experiences that we have during the day are perceived through the senses and since we are communicative beings, we like to talk about our experiences. This means that despite the restricted olfactory vocabulary we still talk about smells, but often have to fall back on other domains or the others senses to refer to odors.
Synesthetic metaphors are often seen as one phenomenon, generally including all phrases that contain two different sense experiences (e.g. sweet sound taste&hearing). These metaphors are looked at from an all-inclusive perspective, trying to find patterns that work for all senses rather than for individual ones. However, such an all-inclusive view does not do justice to the different senses, perceptions based on them and underlying cognitive processes. Furthermore, it hides micro-variations that are specific to each individual sense and is not even accurate for all instances that contain two senses.
My study investigates the differences in synesthetic metaphors that have smell in the target domain, because it seems too superficial to include them in one category as they show differences in metaphoricity.
I argue that it is necessary to look for more individual instances within the broad field of sensory expression, especially when they center around the sense of smell. My data shows that not all instances of two co-occuring sense words qualify as metaphors, thus, such an assumption would be too superficial. It is not enough to look at synesthetic metaphors as one all-inclusive category, because we make perceptual differences and those differences are expressed in language.