Abstract

Verbs of perception have been typically classified into three semantic groups. Gisborne (2010) calls the three categories agentive (listen class), experiencer (hear class), and percept (sound class). Examples pertaining to the sense of smell in English use the same lexical item (smell), while in Polish, the three senses of smell are expressed with different verbs: wąchać (agentive), czuć zapach (experiencer), and pachnieć (percept). In metaphorical extensions of the verbs of sensory perception these verbs often stand for mental states, as meaning shifts typically involve the transfer from concrete to abstract domains. I show that the metaphorical extensions of pachnieć and percept to smell are quite different. Not only does pachnieć not suggest bad character or dislikeable characteristics, it actually conveys the opposite, as in the expression coś komuś pachnie ‘something is attractive to someone’ or when used without a modifier. These differences stem from the positive meaning of pachnieć and the negative meaning of to smell. Since the percept verbs of smell seem to be intrinsically positively or negatively valued, they do not lend themselves to universal Mind-as-Body extensions. I also consider some of the dramatic frequency contrasts between Polish and English smell constructions and show they can have their root in different cultural scripts underlying modes of speaking (pachnieć jak vs. smell like), framing of experiences (czuć zapach vs. experiencer to smell), polysemy, and different constructional capabilities (wąchać vs. to sniff).

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0391
Print ISSN
1068-2090
Pages
pp. 274-299
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-06
Open Access
No
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