Some time ago, in the early 1970s, my mother and father were looking to buy a house. They found one that looked nice, and arranged a viewing. When they got there, though, the smell of the house wasn’t right; it smelled foisty, mouldy, damp, and they decided that the place wasn’t for them.
In July, I presented a paper on the meaning potential of smell, at the European Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference (ESFLC) at the University of Salzburg. As an example, I considered real-estate agents’ use of smells as part of property viewings. I investigated what smells, deliberately used or otherwise, were part of the viewing’s ‘smellscape,’ and what those smells might mean to visitors. Below is a copy of the presentation. (For more on smell, have a look at this.)