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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|