‘I hear the smell of roses’
Semantic aspects of synaesthetic constructions in Persian
This paper investigates the synaesthetic constructions in Persian with the aim of finding out what motivates them despite their incongruous syntactic-semantic assignments. It is argued that these paradoxical elements require a metaphoric/metonymic frame to assign appropriate lexical units (LUs) to their corresponding syntactic categories (NP + rɑ +VP and NP + AP). The discrepancy derives from the semantic aspects for which frame semantics provides two types of explanations: internal and external frame factors. Internal factors deal with the metaphoric/metonymic compatibility or similarity between frames, while external factors underline the use of lexical items from one subframe to fill the vocabulary gap of a different subframe. The argument is that this gap owes much to the indirect contact between the Phenomenon (e.g., an odorous substance) and the Body-part (e.g., nose) that perceives it. In short, the analysis of our data reveals that synaesthesia is not only an economical strategy for modifying the senses, but also a natural mental strategy for interpreting vague experiences. A configuration of the incongruent construction of ‘smell’ and ‘hearing’ will be proposed to generalize such an analysis.
Keywords: synaesthesia, Frame Semantics, senses, Construction Grammar, Persian
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