Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Yesterday, I was listening to a radio interview with an American woman who was talking about language. I was interested in what she had to say, but utterly fascinated with her voice.
In my head, her words came out as a string of pearls -- round, hard, perfectly formed, polished.
By contrast, the Australian interviewing her sounded like a flow of water -- the words run together, even and flat.

I tend not to notice Australian voices (unless they're.... you know.... obvious) but with 'foreign' accents, I often really listen to how the words sound, as well as what they mean.
I have a girlfriend with a French partner, and his words sound like liquid. You ever heard a Frenchman speak, you'll know what I'm saying.

It's quite accepted that colours influence mood, and we understand when people are described as being grey or beige. But can you imagine if a letter was always blue? or a number was always associated with the taste of carrots?

There's a condition called synesthesia, where sensory areas of the brain 'cross-talk' - so people might hear a colour, or taste a sound.
You can read a little about it here.

This fascinates me. Our brains are truly amazing.


  1. Synesthesia; is that the one where some people always see particular numbers in particular colours too? For instance the number seven might always be green for them or the number eight might be yellow, or whatever colour their brain says that number is. I've read a bit about it.
    I've never heard a Frenchman speak, but I did have a French teacher in high school who had spent some time in France. Well, she said she did. Her words always came out clipped and harsh. I hated her with a passion and failed French, a language which I still dislike to this day, solely because of that teacher.

  2. Oooh, oh, oh I have that! So nice to see someone else talking about it. I love that image of pearly words. Words popping out as such beauty. I have a French friend, the accent is delightful. My sound images tend to be more like fabric or ribbon or even paint splatters, different textures and colours, with the duration of the sound making the image longer. I love violins, they are like party streamers, all twirling and rising and falling with the sound. But with added shinyness.
    The taste synesthesia is one I am happy to not have, it is hard enough when sounds/spellings are unpleasant colours, imagine how you would cringe at a bad taste. Or gag.
    River, I got in trouble in prep for insisting that "A" should be yellow when the teacher had used a different colour for it on the alphabet along the top of the blackboard. I went home and talked to my sister, who told me I was wrong,because "A" was obviously red.
    Any of the senses can be mixed with Synesthesia. I am happy with mine and couldn't imagine reading in a world of black or white, remembering a phone number without having the colour pattern to go by or only hearing sounds.

    1. OMG! I find this whole subject fascinating. I wish we could have a cuppa and talk face to face.


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