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I think it’s like saying “food smells green.” Smell and taste are different things, so I think statements like “food sounds crispy” or “food tastes salty” are correct expressions, but “food sounds tasty” is a wrong expression? Is it right?

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    This is not a philosophical question.
    – Alex
    Jul 18 at 1:01
  • @Alex Philosophy :)
    – user3838
    Jul 18 at 1:13
  • A sizzling steak sounds tasty. To a meat eater anyway.
    – user4894
    Jul 18 at 3:47
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    What about a food that makes specific noises during cooking and is indicative of the quality...?
    – Ajax
    Jul 18 at 5:35
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    It is all context dependent. The only thing technically wrong here is you asking "if it is technically wrong to say...", because that is not how language works. There is no universal technical framework in language to judge validity of the sentence.
    – Ajax
    Jul 18 at 5:37
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I think expressions like "that pizza sounds delicious" are technically correct. I think your belief to the contrary is based on a mistaken notion about the conventional meaning and usage of words like sound/appear/look.

You seem to believe that "sound" can only be used in relation to auditory properties, and "look/appear" can only be used in relation to visual properties. This is false. "Sound/appear/look" can be used in the sense of "has or gives the impression of being a certain way". So, if I point to an item on a menu and say, "that pizza sounds delicious", what I am saying is "the description of that pizza on the menu gives the impression that the pizza is delicious."

I don't think you are totally mistaken, though; it's not that "sound/appear/look" are always used in this metaphorical way. Even though they are sometimes used as generally "giving this or that impression", the words are also often tied to whether that impression is conveyed visually or auditorily for example.

So, if there is a picture of a pizza on the menu, along with a description of the pizza, if I say "that pizza sounds delicious", I am saying that the description gives the impression that the pizza is delicious. However, if I say "that pizza looks delicious", I am probably saying that the image is what gives the impression of it being delicious. These are both cases in which I do not know whether it really is delicious or not. If I know that it is delicious, I would say "that pizza is delicious." I could also say "that pizza tastes delicious", but that would leave open the possibility that only the taste was good, and the texture or smell are disgusting, so overall "that pizza is delicious" is more natural than "that pizza tastes delicious" because it is less ambiguous.

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  • I note that substituting "pizza" for the "description of the pizza" is not metaphorical but metonymy.
    – Mary
    Jul 18 at 19:43

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