Tid: Torsdag 2 mars 2017, kl. 15:00-17:00
Plats: C307, Södra huset, Frescati

From Plato to Pinker, eminent scholars have lauded vision while simultaneously underestimating the sense of smell. In particular, it is claimed olfactory abstraction is impossible: We cannot speak about what we smell. Cross-cultural investigations of conversational data show us that this visual pre-occupation may have some universal basis, but there is considerably more variation between communities in sensory vocabularies than widely-appreciated. For example, in contrast to English people, speakers of the Jahai language (a nomadic hunter-gatherer community in the Malay Peninsula) talk about odours as easily as colours. This raises the following questions: What factors contribute to olfactory elaboration in language? And what consequences do variable sensory lexicons have on cognition, more generally? In this talk, I provide an overview of the most recent findings on cross-linguistic sensory vocabularies and their intimate relation to cognition, as well as culture. I argue that only be embracing the cultural dimension, can we fully provide a satisfactory account of the senses, language, and cognition.

Varmt välkomna!
Ljuba Veselinova