Synaesthetic Metaphors in English

TitleSynaesthetic Metaphors in English
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsBretones, C.
Other Numbers1195

Recent work in metaphorical analysis makes it clear that many of our most basic concepts (and our reasoning via those concepts) are embodied: Lived experiences in our bodies inspire and constrain the way we conceive and articulate many of our other experiences. That is exactly what metaphor is based on, i.e., on experiential, body-linked, physical core of reasoning abilities (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999). Metaphor has the capacity to "introduce a sensory logic at the semantic level alluding to a more complex scenario of interrelated meanings and experiences of the world" (Cacciari, 1998 p.128). One of the most common types of metaphoric transfer is synaesthesia, i.e., the transfer of information from one sensory modality to another. I analyze this phenomenon in depth in this paper, taking my data from a corpus of 50 poems written by Seamus Heaney and analyzing examples such as: (1) cold smell (Digging, line 25), (2) stony flavours (From Whatever You Say Say Nothing, line 19) or (3) coarse croaking (Death of a Naturalist, line 26). After that I compare my data with Day's (1996) in his study of synaesthesia in English. Finally, I point out the idea of synaesthetic connections as possible physical base for the cognitive process that we call metaphor.

Bibliographic Notes

ICSI Technical Report TR-01-008

Abbreviated Authors

C. Bretones

ICSI Research Group


ICSI Publication Type

Technical Report