Describing Sensory Experience: The Genre of Wine Reviews

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Abstract

The purpose of the article is to shed light on how experiences of sensory perceptions in the domains of VISION, SMELL, TASTE and TOUCH are recast into text and discourse in the genre of wine reviews. Because of the alleged paucity of sensory vocabularies, in particular in the olfactory domain, it is of particular interest to investigate what resources language has to offer in order to describe those experiences. We show that the main resources are, on the one hand, words evoking properties that are applicable cross-modally and properties of objects that range over more than one domain, and on the other, vivid imagery that compares the characteristics of the wine with people, building, animals and the hustle and bustle of market places and other events. The second goal is to account for the construals of the meanings of the expressions used in the recontextualization into written discourse in the light of their apparent flexibility across the descriptions of the sensory experiences. In contrast to a large body of the literature on sensory meanings in language, we argue that the descriptors of properties such as sharp, soft, lemon and cherry used to describe a wine’s qualities across the sensory domains are not polysemous synesthetic metaphors, but monosemous synesthetic metonymizations, more precisely zone activations. With regard to the imagery used, the construals represented cover both similes, metaphorizations and metonymizations proper.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature
  • General Language Studies and Linguistics

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  • and touch are recast into text and discourse in the genre of wine reviews. Because of the alleged paucity of sensory vocabularies, taste, smell, he purpose of the article is to shed light on how experiences of sensory perceptions in the domains of vision, in particular in the olfactory domain, it is of particular interest to investigate what resources language has to offer in order to describe those experiences. We show that the main resources are, on the one hand, words evoking properties that are applicable cross-modally and properties of objects that range over more than one domain, and on the other, vivid imagery that compares the characteristics of the wine with people, buildings, animals, and the hustle and bustle of market places and other events. The second goal is to account for the construals of the meanings of the expressions used in the recontextualization into written discourse in the light of their apparent flexibility across the descriptions of the sensory experiences. In contrast to a large body of the literature on sensory meanings in language, we argue that the descriptors of properties such as sharp, soft, lemon, and cherry used to describe a wine's qualities across the sensory domains are not polysemous synesthetic metaphors, but monosemous synesthetic metonymizations, more precisely zone activations. With regard to the imagery used, the construals represented cover both similes, metaphorizations and metonymizations proper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-40
JournalMetaphor and Symbol
Volume28
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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