Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Gertie Hoymann

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). In our stimulus set we are concentrating on these five taste qualities, but there are a number of other taste categories that analysts have recognised as being important and that languages appear to encode. The goal of this task is to investigate how languages encode taste experiences – specifically (1) whether there is dedicated vocabulary for encoding taste and (2) how much consistency there is within a community for describing taste experiences.


You must have completed Language of perception (pp. 10-21).
To conduct this task you need – a “taste kit”.


This Field Manual entry can be downloaded from the MPG Publication Repository:

The stimulus materials are not yet available for distribution.

How to cite this resource?

Senft, G., Majid, A., & Levinson, S. C. (2007). The language of taste. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 10 (pp. 42-45). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.492913.