Synaesthesia and Synaesthetic Metaphors

Tipo: 
Articolo
Volume: 
"Psyche"
Numero: 
32, Vol. 2
Anno: 
1996

Keywords

Synesthesia, metaphor, language, cognition, perception, senses, semiotics

Abstract

In a synesthetic metaphor, a certain perceptual mode is initially specified (or may be assumed), but the imagery is linguistically related in terms belonging to one or more differing perceptual modes. Commonplace examples of synesthetic metaphors in English include phrases such as "loud colors", "dark sounds", and "sweet smells". Tabulations of the frequency of types of synesthesia and synesthetic metaphors in English reveals that for physiological synesthesia, colored sounds are most common; in English literature, synesthetic metaphors employed for descriptions of tactile sound predominate. Of the various senses, hearing is most frequently expanded and elaborated upon by both synesthetic sensory perceptions and synesthetic metaphors. Synesthetic "visual hearing", which antedates language, may have influenced language development.