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The 1969 publication of Brent Berlin and Paul Kay’s Basic Color Terms proved explosive and controversial. Contrary to the then-popular doctrine of random language variation, Berlin and Kay’s multilingual study of color nomenclature indicated a cross-cultural and almost universal pattern in the selection of colors that received abstract names in each language. The ensuing debate helped reform the views of anthropologists, linguists, and psychologists alike. After four decades in print, Basic Color Terms now has a sequel: in this book, the authors authoritatively extend the original survey, studying 110 additional unwritten languages in detail and in situ. The results are presented with charts showing the overall palette of color terms within each language as well as the levels of agreement among speakers.

620 pages | 8 1/2 x 11

Lecture Notes

Language and Linguistics: General Language and Linguistics

Table of Contents



Section 1

A brief history of modern research on color naming across languages

Composite Category Rule

The UE hypotheses of universality and evolution

The WCS Data to be Accounted For

Section 2

The WCS: Methodology and Analysis

Data processing and analysis

How to read the individual language data

Deciding if a color term is basic and assigning a basic stage

Section 3



Principles of color term universals and evolution

Black and White

Warm and Cool


The WCS Data to be Accounted For

The Main Life of Basic Color Term Evolution

Accounting for the Main Line of Color Term Evolution

Predictions of the Model for Non-Partition (EH) Languages

WCS Evidence for the EH

The Residue Predicted: Y/G/Bu Terms

The Yellow/Green Mystery Resolved?

Mopping Up: Four EH Languages?


Section 4


Section 5

The 110 World Color Survey Languages: Data and Analyses


1. Original WCS Instructions to Field Workers

2. Sample WCS Coding Sheets (Chiquitano)

3. Munsell Notation for WCS Stimulus Palette

4. WCS Munsell Color Chip Mapping Table

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