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Delwin T. Lindsey, Angela M. Brown; The color lexicon of American English. Journal of Vision 2014;14(2):17. doi: 10.1167/14.2.17.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
This article describes color naming by 51 American English–speaking informants. A free-naming task produced 122 monolexemic color terms, with which informants named the 330 Munsell samples from the World Color Survey. Cluster analysis consolidated those terms into a glossary of 20 named color categories: the 11 Basic Color Term (BCT) categories of Berlin and Kay (1969, p. 2) plus nine nonbasic chromatic categories. The glossed data revealed two color-naming motifs: the green–blue motif of the World Color Survey and a novel green–teal–blue motif, which featured peach, teal, lavender, and maroon as high-consensus terms. Women used more terms than men, and more women expressed the novel motif. Under a constrained-naming protocol, informants supplied BCTs for the color samples previously given nonbasic terms. Most of the glossed nonbasic terms from the free-naming task named low-consensus colors located at the BCT boundaries revealed by the constrained-naming task. This study provides evidence for continuing evolution of the color lexicon of American English, and provides insight into the processes governing this evolution.
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