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Resolving the question of color naming universals

Authors
  • Paul Kay
  • Terry Regier
Publisher
National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Jul 10, 2003
Source
PMC
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Linguistics
License
Unknown

Abstract

The existence of cross-linguistic universals in color naming is currently contested. Early empirical studies, based principally on languages of industrialized societies, suggested that all languages may draw on a universally shared repertoire of color categories. Recent work, in contrast, based on languages from nonindustrialized societies, has suggested that color categories may not be universal. No comprehensive objective tests have yet been conducted to resolve this issue. We conduct such tests on color naming data from languages of both industrialized and nonindustrialized societies and show that strong universal tendencies in color naming exist across both sorts of language.

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