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L19F28 - Lecture 19 Colour Categories They are useful as a...

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Lecture 19 (28/02/11) Colour Categories - They are useful as a tool to discuss a number of things – will return to this a number of times - What is interesting about colour categories are that they refer to a reality that has a physiological basis (we can perceive a whole variety of colours, but then we choose to package this complex reality into a limited number of notions…. Which are essentially based on the words used for colours) - Second – colour categories are variable from language to language - He is just interested in the basic colour terms – meaning a term that is in general usage in all kinds of settings - It is a term that can’t be reduced to another colour term o Ex. Magenta is not a basic colour term in English b/c it is a variety of crimson, which also isn’t a basic colour term b/c it is composed of various colorus of red o Red would be the basic colour term here then - It also has to be generally applicable o Ex. Blonde – not a general application… it only applies to a few things (beer and hair) Basic Colour Terms - Black - White - Red - Yellow - Green - Blue - Brown - Purple - Pink - Orange - Grey Colour Categories Continued - This brings us to another notion – if we show people who are using these terms of a normal basis, various samples of the same colour (ex. Red) and ask them which of these reds is the best example of red… you will get a fairly large level of agreement (becomes the focal colour) - Focal it is something that forms the center of the particular colour category - When are turning to comparing different languages… we find that the basic colour t follow these particular schemes: see Stages of Colour Term online - You can have languages where there are only 2 colour terms o Ex. Black, dark blue/red/green while the other term will be used for white, yellow pale etc - Why use the terms black and white in this case?
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