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Re: Good taste

From:Sylvia Sotomayor <kelen@...>
Date:Thursday, June 13, 2002, 1:57
On Tuesday 11 June 2002 10:38, Peter Clark wrote:
> So my wife was telling me that NPR (national public radio) > had a report in which some scientist had identified another aspect > of taste, apart from the usual sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. He > called it "umami" (sp?) after the Japanese word for a meaty flavor > (and also found in MSG). Then my wife remembered another Japanese > taste word, "shibui", which she described as a dusty, puckery > taste, usually at the back of the mouth. Would anyone care to > comment on this? How does your conlang handle taste (since we just > got done with a thread on color)? > > :Peter
I have no idea how Kélen handles this, so I've been doing some research... On the analogy of primary colors (which have a genetic basis), scientists posit five primary tastes, which you mentioned above. Umami is described as responding to glutamic acid salts, such as MSG, and others found in meats and cheeses. However, it is very tricky to separate taste & smell. (Kélen may only have one word for both, and in some languages the words are related somehow.) As to primary smells, scientists have come up with eight *so far*, by looking for ones which some people just aren't able to smell. These are: camphorous, fishy, malty, minty, musky, spermous, sweaty, & urinous. Most everything else is a combination of this, including those chemically distinct mercaptans, and things like dusty and cool and such come from receptors other than taste/smell receptors. For example, the flavor of peppers supposedly excites a few pain sensors, too. Also, the amount of substance has an effect. Very complicated. Must learn more... -- Sylvia Sotomayor The Kélen language can be found at: This post may contain the following characters: á (a-acute); é (e-acute); í (i-acute); ó (o-acute); ú (u-acute); ñ (n-tilde);