Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

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: I've been away and have just seen your query. Unfortunately I can't offer any general, cross-linguistic data, but it is interesting to note that while French and Spanish which you mention both descend from Latin, in Latin the two senses are in fact distinguished (olfacere v. olere). Geoffrey Sampson
Reply From: Geoffrey Richard Sampson      click here to access email
Date: 17-Sep-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Verbs of Smell    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (15-Sep-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions