Sensory anthropologists have described societies that, compared to Western ones, attribute to the sense of smell a more prominent cultural role, and linguists are bringing evidence that a higher sociocultural status of smell tends to be reflected in language by a richer and more elaborated olfactory lexicon. Given that the relative prominence of one sense within the sensorium has been shown to vary not only across societies, but also over time, such variation may be expected to have linguistic reflections. This study explores whether and how the olfactory lexicon has changed from Latin to Italian. Is the alleged increased “deodorization” of contemporary Western societies associated with changes in the lexicon? The data show that, contrary to expectations, the overall size of the olfactory lexicon did not undergo appreciable changes. However, it progressively became more oriented toward the negative pole of evaluation (i.e., the expression of unpleasant smells). Implications and possible explanations are discussed in the light of the linguistic and sensory-historical literature.
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|Titolo:||Smelling over time. The lexicon of olfaction from Latin to Italian|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2021|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.01 - Contributo in volume (Capitolo o saggio)|