Synaesthetic metaphors

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Trix19, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Trix19 Member

    England, UK
    English - UK
    Hi :)

    I'm looking for synaesthetic metaphors or similes (those describing sense transference, e.g. 'sweet smile,' 'loud colour') from languages other than English, or any unusual, old or obscure ones of any language that you've heard or read somewhere. Really any that aren't often heard in everyday English. If you know of anywhere else I could look for these, that'd also be really helpful.
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi Trix19, in Greek we too associate sweetness with smile --> «γλυκό χαμόγελο» [ɣli'ko xa'moʝelo] (sweet smile) as I guess every language does. For loud color we say it's either «φανταχτερό» [fandaxte'ro] (adj. neut.) --> flashy, flamboyant or «δυνατό» [ðina'to] (adj. neut.) --> strong.
    The music is sweet --> «γλυκιά μουσική» [ɣli'ca musi'ci], the heart of a kind person is warm --> «ζεστή καρδιά» [ze'sti kar'ðʝa], the magnanimous person is «μεγαλόψυχος» [meɣa'lopsixos] --> great-souled or «μεγαλόκαρδος» [meɣa'lokarðos] --> great-hearted, while on the contrary, the person devoid of sympathy or feeling is «σκληρόκαρδος» [skli'rokarðos] --> hard-hearted.
  3. Trix19 Member

    England, UK
    English - UK
    Thanks apmoy, it's great seeing them in another language. :) I'm curious about the variations out there and I've been thinking about collecting ones I find that are unusual to me, those different to the English and perhaps ones that (quite uncommonly) move from more to less immediate senses, such as silent sweetness rather than sweet silence. It's hard to find variations in languages on the web, so I was wondering about setting up a database, though I'm not sure what practical use it would have. But for the moment it's just something I've started to find really interesting. I'd love to hear any more people have. :)
  4. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    In Dutch:
    - schreeuwerige kleuren (crying/ shouting ([cryish???] colours)
    - scherp verstand (sharp intelligence) - though that is not synaesthetic
  5. Trix19 Member

    England, UK
    English - UK
    Thanks Thomas. :)
  6. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    You're welcome. But there should be more, in all kinds of languages. 'Sweet'/'Zoet' for example often means: 'good, not naughty', etc., but of course 'a sweet boy' is not synaesthic.
  7. Trix19 Member

    England, UK
    English - UK
    I've heard a couple in different languages, but they're difficult to find without asking people or knowing another language well. Still, I can also look for them in English things I read.
  8. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I found some more : warme/ scherpe stem (warm/ sharp voice), bittere woorden, ...
  9. Anja.Ann

    Anja.Ann Senior Member

    Some other synaesthetic metaphors in Italian:

    - colore squillante (literally, shrill color)
    - voce calda (literally, warm voice)
    - profumo fresco (literally, fresh perfume)
    - odore aspro (literally, sour smell)
  10. Holger2014 Senior Member

    Hi Trix19, such an interesting idea for a thread! These are some German synaesthetic metaphors, I hope I'm not going off-topic with some of them:

    - Klangfarben (literally: sound colours, colours of sound(s))
    - warme Farben (literally: warm colours, i.e. colours like brown, yellow, red)
    - kühle Farben (literally: chilly/cool colours, i.e. blue, green, possibly light grey)
    - frische Farben (literally: fresh colours, probably the same as in English: orange, yellow, bright green...)
    - schrille/schreiende Farben (literally: 'screaming colours' such as: very bright orange,some shades of turquoise (I shouldn't have switched the spellcheck off ;))
    - sanfte Farben (soft, smooth colours: possibly bright blue, pink, some shades of yellow)
    - helle Vokale (literally: bright vowels, such as e and i)
    - dunkle Vokale (literally: dark vowels, such as o, u and a)
    - ... and many others, like the ones ThomasK and Anja,Ann mentioned, the German equivalents being warme Stimme (lit: warm voice), bittere Worte (lit: bitter words) etc.

    English seems to have many interesting synaesthetic metaphors as well, one we don't have in German is 'soundscape' - it sounds to me like a connection of music and a wide, open landscape... In German we only have the expression 'Klangteppich' (lit: 'sound carpet') which sounds really down to earth ;) 'Wall of sound' is another one we don't use (we might say 'Klangwand', but I've never heard it).

    I think we often associate sounds with colours and colours with sounds without being aware of it...
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  11. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    These synaesthetic Hungarian metaphors for voice correspond to the Italian ones:
    1. metsző hang - colore squillante (literally, shrill color)
    2. meleg hang - voce calda (literally, warm voice)

    More ones about voice:
    3. fahang = monotone voice = sound of wood
    4. repedt fazék hangja van = his/her voice is like the voice of a cracked pot
    5. Úgy énekel, mint akit fél tökre kiheréltek. = He is singing as if one of his eggs have been removed.

    Counterparts of German classification of colors:
    1. meleg színek =warme Farben
    2. hideg színek = kühle Farben

    1. szúrós szag = prickly odour
    2. édes illat = sweet odour

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