Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Stephen C. Levinson

Topic — perception (15 entries)

The Language of Taste

The underlying physiology of taste is far better understood than that of smell. There are five types of receptor, namely for sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (glutamic acid). InMore →

The Language of Olfaction

What resources do languages have for describing smells? Is there dedicated vocabulary for encoding olfaction, and if so what are the types of distinctions that are encoded? And, finally, howMore →

The Language of Touch

Newborn infants learn about the world around them through touch. Piaget famously noted the importance of manual and oral exploration of objects for developing spatial cognition and knowledge of theMore →

The Language of Sound

This task explores natural, non-expert, metalanguage for sounds in the language under study. In English, for example, sound metalanguage is quite rich. We talk about unpleasant sounds as noise (inMore →

The Language of Vision II: Shape

We are interested to find how, and to what extent, your language makes shape distinctions. This area of visual experience is in principle “effable” in the sense that a childMore →

Language of Perception: The View From Language and Culture

This entry provides an overview of some linguistic phenomena pertinent to the “language of perception”, and is a necessary companion to the elicitation tasks later in the field manual. TheMore →

Synaesthesia: A Cross-Cultural Pilot (v. 1)

Synaesthesia is a condition in which stimulation of one sensory modality (e.g. hearing) causes additional experiences in a second, unstimulated modality (e.g. seeing colours). The goal of this task isMore →

Language of Perception: Views From Anthropology

The senses are not only physiological phenomena, but they are also linguistic, cultural, and social. The goal of this task is to explore and describe sociocultural patterns relating language of perception, ideologies of perception, and perceptual practice in our speech communities.

Constructions in ‘Language and Perception’

This field guide is for eliciting information about grammatical resources used in describing perceptual events and perception-based properties and states. A list of leading questions outlines an underlying semantic spaceMore →

Focal Colours

In this task we aim to find what the best exemplars or “focal colours” of each basic colour term is in our field languages. This is an important part ofMore →