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Color Appearance and the Emergence and Evolution of Basic Color Lexicons

Paul Kay and Luisa Maffi
American Anthropologist
Vol. 101, No. 4 (Dec., 1999), pp. 743-760
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/684051
Page Count: 18
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Color Appearance and the Emergence and Evolution of Basic Color Lexicons
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Abstract

Various revisions of the Berlin and Kay (1969) model of the evolution of basic color term systems have been produced in the last thirty years, motivated by both empirical and theoretical considerations. On the empirical side, new facts about color naming systems have continually come to light, which have demanded adjustments in the descriptive model. On the theoretical side, there has been a sustained effort to find motivation in the vision science literature regarding color appearance for the synchronic and diachronic constraints observed to govern color terminology systems. The present paper continues the pursuit of both of these goals. A new empirical question is addressed with data from the World Color Survey (WCS), and a revised model is proposed, which both responds to recently raised empirical questions and provides new motivation from the field of color vision for the observed constraints on color naming.

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