Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-9971
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9994
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Of all the varieties of sensory experience, wine appreciation seems to be one of the most rewarding yet also one of the most challenging to verbalize. This is largely due to a lack of scientific terminology capable of describing sensory impressions (in turn related to how little is known about human perception). Wine language is highly unspecific and figurative, depending on a weakly standardized community practice rather than a solid and comprehensive range of descriptors. In this paper I study figurative language and verbal creativity in a corpus of 12,000 English and Spanish wine reviews by focusing specifically on metaphor and synesthesia as the resources that best exemplify (and often manage to overcome) many of the genre’s shortcomings. In addition to the discussion of quantitative results, a case study in synesthesia is offered as illustration of the genre’s complexities, complemented by a contrastive discussion of how similar difficulties are handled in different ways in English and Spanish.


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