Every language has a way of talking about seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. In about a quarter of the world's languages, grammatical evidentials express means of perception. In some languages verbs of vision subsume cognitive meanings. In others, cognition is associated with a verb of auditory perception, touch, or smell. "Vision" is not the universally preferred means of perception. In numerous cultures, taboos are associated with forbidden visual experience. Vision may be considered intrusive and aggressive, and linked with power. In contrast, "hearing" and "listening" are the main avenues for learning, understanding and "knowing".
The studies presented in this book set out to explore how these meanings and concepts are expressed in languages of Africa, Oceania, and South America.