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Olfaction in Aslian ideology and language

Burenhult, Niclas LU and Majid, Asifa (2011) In The Senses & Society 6(1). p.19-29
Abstract
The cognitive- and neuro-sciences have supposed that the perceptual world of the individual is dominated by vision, followed closely by audition, but that olfaction is merely vestigial. Aslian-speaking communities (Austroasiatic, Malay Peninsula) challenge this view. For the Jahai — a small group of rainforest foragers — odor plays a central role in both culture and language. Jahai ideology revolves around a complex set of beliefs which structures the human relationship with the supernatural. Central to this relationship are hearing, vision and olfaction. In Jahai language, olfaction also receives special attention. There are at least a dozen or so abstract descriptive odor categories that are basic, everyday terms. This lexical... (More)
The cognitive- and neuro-sciences have supposed that the perceptual world of the individual is dominated by vision, followed closely by audition, but that olfaction is merely vestigial. Aslian-speaking communities (Austroasiatic, Malay Peninsula) challenge this view. For the Jahai — a small group of rainforest foragers — odor plays a central role in both culture and language. Jahai ideology revolves around a complex set of beliefs which structures the human relationship with the supernatural. Central to this relationship are hearing, vision and olfaction. In Jahai language, olfaction also receives special attention. There are at least a dozen or so abstract descriptive odor categories that are basic, everyday terms. This lexical elaboration of odor is not unique to the Jahai but can seen across many contemporary Austroasiatic languages and transcends major cultural and environmental boundaries. These terms appear to be inherited from ancestral language states, suggesting a long-standing preoccupation with odor in this part of the world. Contrary to the prevailing assumption in the cognitive sciences, these languages and cultures demonstrate that odor is far from vestigial in humans. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Jahai, language of perception, Aslian, Austroasiatic, olfaction
in
The Senses & Society
volume
6
issue
1
pages
19 - 29
publisher
Bloomsbury publishing
external identifiers
  • wos:000287770100002
  • scopus:79951808792
ISSN
1745-8935
DOI
10.2752/174589311X12893982233597
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
63990bf9-ceb4-40fe-91ca-c6547cce46c1 (old id 1685015)
alternative location
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/pubman/item/escidoc:446251:18/component/escidoc:752550/Burenhult_Majid_Olfactions_Aslian_Ideology_Sens&Soc_2011.pdf
date added to LUP
2010-09-27 10:47:02
date last changed
2017-05-21 04:45:18
@article{63990bf9-ceb4-40fe-91ca-c6547cce46c1,
  abstract     = {The cognitive- and neuro-sciences have supposed that the perceptual world of the individual is dominated by vision, followed closely by audition, but that olfaction is merely vestigial. Aslian-speaking communities (Austroasiatic, Malay Peninsula) challenge this view. For the Jahai — a small group of rainforest foragers — odor plays a central role in both culture and language. Jahai ideology revolves around a complex set of beliefs which structures the human relationship with the supernatural. Central to this relationship are hearing, vision and olfaction. In Jahai language, olfaction also receives special attention. There are at least a dozen or so abstract descriptive odor categories that are basic, everyday terms. This lexical elaboration of odor is not unique to the Jahai but can seen across many contemporary Austroasiatic languages and transcends major cultural and environmental boundaries. These terms appear to be inherited from ancestral language states, suggesting a long-standing preoccupation with odor in this part of the world. Contrary to the prevailing assumption in the cognitive sciences, these languages and cultures demonstrate that odor is far from vestigial in humans.},
  author       = {Burenhult, Niclas and Majid, Asifa},
  issn         = {1745-8935},
  keyword      = {Jahai,language of perception,Aslian,Austroasiatic,olfaction},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {19--29},
  publisher    = {Bloomsbury publishing},
  series       = {The Senses & Society},
  title        = {Olfaction in Aslian ideology and language},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/174589311X12893982233597},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2011},
}