Word/Taste

“Words…were beautiful because they could reveal the truth and hide it at the same time.”

In Bitter in the Mouth, Linda Hammerick has a neurological condition known as auditory-gustatory synesthesia, which causes her to experience a taste whenever she hears or speaks certain words. These word-taste combinations are not associative in nature. The word “aunt” triggers the taste of cornbread, for example, not because Linda was eating cornbread the first time she heard the word or that someone’s aunt made the best cornbread she has ever had. The word-taste combinations are seemingly random neurological assignments. The combinations once coupled, however, remain constant and stable for Linda. Mouse over the words for a glimpse of Linda’s unique relationship to the English language. Download the list as a pdf.

A

actually
again and against
already
amen
American
amortization
angry
any
appellant
arbitration
Arthur
ashamed
aunt
away and way

B

baby
back
Baptist
beau and bow
beautiful
Benton
body
boiling
bridges

C

Caleb
call
Carolina
casserole
Cecil
character
cheap
chocolate
cock
come
compensatory
convention
Cooper
couple
crazy
cup
cute

D

daddy
days
dead
DeAnne
dear
December
different
disappoint
do and due
Dolly Parton
doubt
drink
drive
dumb

E

egress
employment
English
every
exculpatory

F

family
fault
favorite
feature
fiduciary
figure
fire
first
flight
for
free
front
fuck
funny

G

Gardner-Webb
girl
go
God
good
grand
great
Gruenfeld

H

half
Hammerick
handle
Harper
hates
head
hear and here
hi and high
hiccup
hill
history
hole
home
homosexual
honor
house

I

idea
imposing
infringement
injunction
intellectual
interested
island

J

Jesus
jokes
Julie
jurisdiction

K

keep
Kelly
knew and new
knock
know and no

L

lack
last
later
Leo
Linda
listener
literature
long
loss
love
Luke
lunch

M

macaroni
matricide
mean
milk
mine
mitigating
mom
month
moral
morning

N

name
never
night and tonight
19
North
nothing

O

one
out

P

period
perpetuity
person
phone
pick
pimple
place
plane
played
please
pork
Powell
pretty
probate
prunes
pussy

R

read
ready
really
recognized
remember
remind
rest
rock

S

sake
Sally
Sascha
seat
selfish
settle
seventeenth
shit
should
show
sitcom
slippery
soap
son
soon
sorry
southern
speak
springs
started
still
stop
store
studies
stuff
subpoena
suck
supposed
sure
surgery
synesthesia

T

talk
tell
their and there
thing
Thomas
time
today
tomorrow
tonight
touch
try
Tuscaloosa
twice

U

uncle
unconstitutional
understand
up
vegetarian

Y

Yale
you
 
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