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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: 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)

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