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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Subject: Verbs of Smell
Question: In English, Spanish, and French there seems to be just one verb
smell/oler/sentir which means both to emit a scent and to take in a
scent. The roses smell beautiful/ I smell the roses.

In Slavic they tend to be different verbs (Polish pachniec vs.
wachac), and I was wondering which pattern is more common cross
linguistically (English/Spanish/French or Polish/Slavic). I would
be grateful for pointers towards literature on the verbs of smell
as well as examples of smell verbs from different languages.

Thank you very much,
Kat Dziwirek

Reply: Since you haven’t had any replies from our Ask-a-Linguist panel yet, the issue might be that we are unable to assist you. You may want to post your query to the Linguist List instead, where it will reach a much larger and broader specialist circle. Just copy and paste your question on this site:


I hope this helps!

Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
Date: 15-Sep-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Verbs of Smell    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (17-Sep-2013)

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