Synaesthetic Metaphors and Sound

  • Jerneja Primožič
Keywords: synaesthesia, metaphor, perception, music, sound, cognitive linguistics


This paper analyses a phenomenon called synaesthetic metaphors, in which one sensory modality is described in terms of another (e.g. bright sound, sharp taste, sweet smell). The aim of the research, based on the contrastive analysis of Slovenian and French music reviews, is to determine which sense domains are employed for (synaesthetic) description of sound, more precisely music, and how frequent they are. In this regard the paper examines the directionality principle according to which more concrete and more accessible lower senses (touch, taste, smell) tend to map onto less concrete and less accessible higher senses (sound, sight). Furthermore, the analysis focuses on two other aspects: the conventionality of synaesthetic metaphors and their connotative meaning. Since the source and target domain in synaesthetic transfers belong to sense domains, the paper emphasizes the experiential – i.e. perceptive, cognitive, and sociocultural – dimension of this phenomenon, with regard to which rises the main question concerning the universal and cultural tendencies of synaesthetic metaphors.


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How to Cite
Primožič, J. (2017). Synaesthetic Metaphors and Sound. Journal for Foreign Languages, 9(1), 25-43.