Publication details [#14514]

Winter, Bodo. 2019. Synaesthetic metaphors are neither synaesthetic nor metaphorical . 22 pp.
Publication type
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: John Benjamins


Winter puts forward the idea that the commonplace term 'synaesthetic metaphor' used to describe linguistic instantiations that evoke two/or more senses (e.g. sweet fragrance) is in fact a misnomer. Based on data from neuroscience, the author suggests that most -if not all- such uses are actually an evaluative pairing and not a cross-sensory correspondence. This basically points to those pairings being neither synaesthetic normetaphorical. It is challenging to assume a metaphorical construction as the adjectives’ meaning actually spans across different senses; their usage is mostly literal. According to Winter, the adherence of western culture to a five-sense distinction has obscured the study of senses, including that of 'linguistic synaesthesia', to the point that the findings of the studies are only applicable to our culturally coated eyes. Much like how the senses are not physiologically cut-off from one another, the adjectives used to describe these senses also encompass them, i.e. without the need of metaphorical extensions.