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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Jul 22;100(15):9085-9. Epub 2003 Jul 10.

Resolving the question of color naming universals.

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1
International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA. kay@cogsci.berkeley.edu

Abstract

The existence of cross-linguistic universals in color naming is currently contested. Early empirical studies, based principally on languages of industrialized societies, suggested that all languages may draw on a universally shared repertoire of color categories. Recent work, in contrast, based on languages from nonindustrialized societies, has suggested that color categories may not be universal. No comprehensive objective tests have yet been conducted to resolve this issue. We conduct such tests on color naming data from languages of both industrialized and nonindustrialized societies and show that strong universal tendencies in color naming exist across both sorts of language.

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