Saturday, 31 October 2009

Once you've tasted glove...

I was listening to a feature on Radio 4 this morning about a guy who tastes words. Yes, you heard (or felt) me right, he TASTES various flavours according to what words he hears. Apparently this disorder is called gustatory auditory synaesthesia and it can affect all of the senses in a whole multitude of combinations. So, from what I understand, some people can feel noises and smell things they see (more information at

The example they used for the flavoursome words chap was that the word 'Tony' tastes like desiccated coconut. He also revealed that the word 'coffin' tastes like boiled sweets in order to demonstrate that the negative (or positive) connotations associated with certain words in no way affects whether the subsequent taste is pleasant or rank; the tastes are completely arbitrary.

I've become a big fan of Radio 4 in recent weeks, but I do feel that in this particular feature they failed to address a number of key questions. For example, what happens when people talk about actual food? Does he taste mint when someone says the word 'mint'? What word is associated with the taste of chocolate? Does it work in reverse? i.e. does he hear words in his head when he eats? Does he actively seek out people who are likely to talk more about things that result in the flavours he enjoys the most?

P.S. The title of this post is a Take That reference. I wonder what flavour the word 'glove' conjures up?

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