Bodo Winter at LEL Research Seminar

Posted on December 11, 2016 by



Bodo Winter (Birmingham) will be in Manchester on Tuesday 13th Dec to give a talk on The tasty smelly side of language: A quantitative study of English sensory adjectives. Here’s the abstract:


One of the primary things humans do with language is to talk about sensory impressions, such as whether a curry tastes too hot or whether fish smells rotten. In this talk, I will present two studies on the linguistic properties of sensory words such as “fragrant”, “shiny” and “smooth”. First, I will present quantitative evidence showing that taste and smell words are more emotionally valenced (e.g., words for smells such as “rancid”, “pungent” and “stinky” tend to be negative) and that these words occur in more highly valenced linguistic contexts. Second, I will discuss how sensory words differ in vocal iconicity, with touch and sound words being most iconic, and vision words being least iconic. A more detailed analysis of touch iconicity reveals that words for rough surfaces disproportionately have the phoneme /r/ in them, compared to words for smooth surfaces. My talk will outline how these linguistic results are interwoven with current theories of embodied cognition and our current understanding of sound symbolism.


Join us in Sam Alex A113 at 4:15pm for the talk, followed by some tasty smelly wine and crisps!

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