Next time you smell a cake try to describe the odor with the exact word from the English vocabulary. You may always describe them as sweet or yummy but they are not the exact words that can explain the product. Researchers have found out that English speakers lack the exact vocabulary to describe any kind of odor or scent.
Research was done between two communities of the Malay Peninsula- the Semaq Beri hunter gatherer population and the Semelai who are rice farmers. The research was to find out whether these two communities who speak related languages have different languages for scents and odor or not. It was found that the hunter gatherers are better smellers than the farmers. This is because the former community spends more time sensing the smell rather than the latter one. They might also have certain genes that other humans have lost.
The research concluded that there are different languages to describe different kinds of smells. The learning of the language depends on the upbringing of the people or the way they have been brought up in the community. People speaking in almost similar languages can describe smells by different words. One might use one language and the other might use another similar word to explain the same smell to others.
The Semelai farmers suggest that describing odors can be connected to our way of life. As hunter gatherers, the Semaq Beri can sense the smell to detect food and predators at night. While the Semelai farmers, do not find any importance to describe smell.
The explanation of any smell is dependent on the occupation, the upbringing of people and the language that they are used to.