Friday, May 27, 2011

Robert MacLaury. "Basic Color Terms: Twenty-five Years After."

In Alexander Borg (ed.) 1999. The Language of Color in the Mediterranean, 1-37.

Gives an overview of the developments in anthropological/linguistic studies in color terms since B&K 1969, including modifications of the B-K hypothesis and its relation to various formalisms such as prototype theory, fuzzy set theory, and vantage theory. Much field research has shown that there are many nuances in color naming that include brightness, desaturation, and anomalous or overlapping color boundaries, that pose problems for naive B-K universalism. However, M's general assessment is that the B-K hypothesis was very important for moving research away from the naive relativism that prevailed before B&K 1969. Many scholars now believe that biology plays an important role in color naming systems, though much work is still to be done.

[31] "The last chapter of Basic Color Terms is yet to be written. The work has inpsired substantial research on categorization within an ubiquitous domain of language that can be explored replicably with a commercially available instrument capable of generating quantification. Berlin and Kay further did their part to develop theinstrument and encourage its use. in addition, they sparked intense interest in the question of relativity versus universality that persists to the present."

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