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Perception. 1997;26(3):367-70.

Note: half-a-million basic colour words: Berlin and Kay and the usage of colour words in literature and science.

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Department of Psychology, University College London, UK.


Berlin and Kay have proposed that the order of evolution of colour words is highly conserved across languages. Previously I have suggested that the same order of colour words, with black, white, and red first, and pink, purple, orange, and grey last, is found in the rate of usage of colour words within languages. That hypothesis is now further supported by the frequencies of the eleven English basic colour words in 507,256 cases in eight large computerised data bases, there being a rank correlation of 0.802 with the Berlin and Kay order.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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