Language of Perception -
This project, lead by Asifa Majid & Stephen Levinson, examines the linguistic codability of simple perceptual experiences and seeks to understand why there might be differential codability or ineffability of the senses. To what extent is differential codability a result of our cognitive architecture and to what extent is it a question of local cultural preoccupation such that we could have developed rich resources for talking about smells and tastes?
To address this question, a standardized set of stimuli of color patches, geometric shapes, simple sounds, tactile textures, smells and tastes have been used to elicit descriptions from speakers of more than a dozen languages. The languages are typologically, genetically and geographically diverse, representing a wide range of subsistence modes, ecological zones and dwelling types. We examine how codable the different sensory modalities are by comparing how consistent speakers are in how they describe the materials in each modality.
Olivier Le Guen
Connie de Vos