smell and taste

bingfu bingfu at USC.EDU
Thu Apr 23 15:27:40 UTC 1998

Dear Manfred,
	Thannks for your wonderful
	observation and explanation, which
is typically functional!


On Thu, 23 Apr 1998, Manfred Krifka wrote:

> Dear all,
> Bingfu's question about basic taste words reminded me of the following
> asymmetry between the uses of the basic predicates for tasting and smelling
> that can be illustrated with English and German:
> German:
> "Das schmeckt",  lit. 'This tastes', i.e. this tastes good.
> "Das riecht", lit. 'This smells', i.e. this smells bad.
> English:
> "This is tasty", i.e. it tastes good.
> "This is smelly", i.e. it smells bad.
> There is a ready explanation for this asymmetry: We have more control over
> things that we put in our mouth than over the gaseous substances that enter
> our nose. And we typically put good things into our mouth, hence the
> tendency for the unmodified use of tasting predicates to denote something
> good. I'm curious whether the same type of asymmetry manifests itself
> cross-linguistically.
> ================================================================
>  Manfred Krifka
>  Dept. of Linguistics, B5100
>  University of Texas at Austin
>  Austin, TX 78712-1196, USA
>  phone: 1-512-4711701, fax: 4714340

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