Naming the Rainbow

Naming the Rainbow : Colour Language, Colour Science, and Culture

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Is there a universal biolinguistic disposition for the development of `basic' colour words? This question has been a subject of debate since Brent Berlin and Paul Kay's Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution was published in 1969. Naming the Rainbow is the first extended study of this debate. The author describes and criticizes empirically and conceptually unified models of colour naming that relate basic colour terms directly to perceptual and ultimately to physiological facts, arguing that this strategy has overlooked the cognitive dimension of colour naming. He proposes a psychosemantics for basic colour terms which is sensitive to cultural difference and to the nature and structure of non-linguistic experience.
Audience: Contemporary colour naming research is radically interdisciplinary and Naming the Rainbow will be of interest to philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, and cognitive scientists concerned with: biological constraints on cognition and categorization; problems inherent in cross-cultural and in interdisciplinary science; the nature and extent of cultural relativism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 164 x 234 x 28mm | 498.95g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1998 ed.
  • X, 216 p.
  • 0792352394
  • 9780792352396

Table of contents

Part One: The Foundations of the Universalist Tradition in Colour Naming Research. Introduction. I. Colour Naming and Whorf's Hypothesis. II. Psychophysics and Colour Naming. III. Colour Naming and the Brain. IV. Language, Mind, and Brain: A Summary. Part Two: Colour Naming: Constraints, Cognition, and Culture. V. Composite Colour Categories and the Evolution of Systems of Colour Naming. VI. The Non-Naturalness of Colour Categories. VII. Culture and Colour Naming. Conclusion: Colour Naming, Cognition, and Culture. Appendix: Criticism of Berlin and Kay, and Rosch. Notes. References. Name Index.
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