11. Cognition, olfaction and linguistic creativity: Linguistic synesthesia as poetic device in cologne advertisement

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The starting point of this paper is the observation that there is no consistent and conventionalized ‘lexicon of olfaction’ in any language. This is due in large part to the neurophysiological incongruence of language-processing and smellprocessing structures in the brain. Nonetheless we do in some way speak about smells, odors, scents. The discourse of cologne advertising, which I concentrate on, provides a vast amount of quasi-olfactory expressions. The majority of these adjectives, nouns and noun phrases are generated by synesthesia as a metaphorical process. On the theoretical basis of general semiotics (Peirce) and the poetic function of language (Jakobson), I assert that in cologne discourse poetic means are indispensable, since the referential function cannot cope adequately with describing smells.


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