Thu Apr 23 23:41:14 UTC 1998

> To David Gil: it would be very interesting to know which sense of "rasa"
> can be seen as the primary one - feel or taste?

Indeed it would be, but I don't know how to go about figuring it out.
(I have a recollection -- but I don't remember any of the references --
of some work in cognitive psychology which posits a hierarchy of senses:
touch < taste/smell < sound < vision, with a variety of empirical
consequences, one of which being that metaphorical extensions generally go
*upwards* not *downwards* on the hierarchy.  So for example you get "hot
colours", going from touch at bottom to vision at top, but not, say, the
mirror image "green textures".  Using this as a basis, it would suggest
that "feel" would be more basic than "taste" for Malay / Indonesian
_rasa_.  Oddly, however, I have an unsubstantiated gut feeling that the
opposite is actually the case.)

> About "pahit": does the "negative connotation" of the term mean that
> native speakers normally drink sweetened tea and juices? Are there any
> other words for "bitter" (in my dictionary I found only "pahit" and
> "rindu dendam", which is metaphoric, I suppose), and if yes, do they
> have any evaluative connotations?

Indeed, tea, coffee and juices are normally drunk with lots of sugar.
_Rindu dendam_ is literally something like "longing emotion".  There are
no other commonly used words for bitter, though there may be other, more
learned ones, that I am not familiar with.

David Gil
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

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