In the existing literature on synaesthetic metaphors in poetry it is proposed that transfers tend to go from the ‘lower’ (touch, smell, taste) to the ‘higher’ (sight, hearing) sensory modalities. e purpose of this article is to establish if the same directionality also holds for synaesthetic associations found in other text types. To this end, a method for the semi-automatic extraction of synaesthesia is intro- duced and applied to general-purpose corpora of English (ukWaC) and Italian (itWaC). In the data collected for these languages, most transfers proceed in the expected direction, e.g. sweet voice, but instances of ‘backward’ transfers are also found, e.g. bitter cold. Based on these results, it is claimed that the ‘directionality principle’ re ects the frequency of association types, rather than representing uni- versal constraints on synaesthetic transfers, as has o en been more or less explic- itly assumed. It is here argued that both properties of human perception and more strictly linguistic factors can account for the frequency tendencies observed in synaesthesia. e proposed interpretation is also shown to account for apparently contradictory evidence coming from typological studies on verbs of perception.

Synaesthesia: A corpus-based study of cross-modal directionality

STRIK LIEVERS, FRANCESCA
2015-01-01

Abstract

In the existing literature on synaesthetic metaphors in poetry it is proposed that transfers tend to go from the ‘lower’ (touch, smell, taste) to the ‘higher’ (sight, hearing) sensory modalities. e purpose of this article is to establish if the same directionality also holds for synaesthetic associations found in other text types. To this end, a method for the semi-automatic extraction of synaesthesia is intro- duced and applied to general-purpose corpora of English (ukWaC) and Italian (itWaC). In the data collected for these languages, most transfers proceed in the expected direction, e.g. sweet voice, but instances of ‘backward’ transfers are also found, e.g. bitter cold. Based on these results, it is claimed that the ‘directionality principle’ re ects the frequency of association types, rather than representing uni- versal constraints on synaesthetic transfers, as has o en been more or less explic- itly assumed. It is here argued that both properties of human perception and more strictly linguistic factors can account for the frequency tendencies observed in synaesthesia. e proposed interpretation is also shown to account for apparently contradictory evidence coming from typological studies on verbs of perception.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/876205
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