Nijmegen researchers chart odor lexicon

“In many languages, such as English, there is no straightforward way to talk about smell. For want of dedicated odor terminology similar to that available for color, English speakers are often forced to use odor-sources and metaphors in their descriptions of olfactory sensations. This has long been considered a universal feature of all languages, but there is accumulating evidence that languages with odor lexicons actually do exist. Maniq (pronounced as maniʔ), spoken by a group of nomadic hunter-gatherers in southern Thailand, is one such language. The study by Wnuk and Majid is an in-depth investigation of the semantics of an odor lexicon using multiple methods.”

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For more information and a link to the paper, visit the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

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