The language of sound: events and meaning multitasking of words

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


The focus of much sensory language research has been on vocabulary and codability, not how language is used in communication of sensory perceptions. We make a case for discourse-oriented research about sensory language as an alternative to the prevailing vocabulary orientation. To consider the language of sound in authentic textual data, we presented participants with 20 everyday sounds of unknown sources and asked them to describe the sounds in as much detail as possible, as if describing them to someone who could not hear them. We explored how the participants use language to describe these sounds. Do they describe their listening experiences (stressful), sound properties (intermittent beeping), and/or the events that caused the sounds (eating an apple)? The results show that out of these three soundscape elements, events are the most frequent and most indispensable element. We let the results from the study illustrate the need for more discursive data in studies of sensory language and argue that there is no designated language of sound. Our study highlights that in order to account for sensory language use, we need an
analytical framework that accommodates discursive language in a non-trivial way beyond stable couplings between individual words and meanings.
Sidor (från-till)445-477
TidskriftCognitive Linguistics
Tidigt onlinedatum2023 okt. 9
StatusPublished - 2023

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Jämförande språkvetenskap och lingvistik


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