Talk:Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution

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The article says "as languages evolve." Did B&K use the term "evolution/ evolve"? I would be surprised, as the notion that some languages are more evolved than others is dismissed by most (read: virtually all) linguists. (I also saw a web page--not this article--talking about "primitive" languages having fewer color terms. No linguist, I think, would refer to a language as being primitive, apart maybe from a pidgin language.) Mcswell (talk) 20:47, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Think it was just meant in the sense of "as languages elaborate their color-terminology system"... AnonMoos (talk) 09:40, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Languages do evolve, similarly to the way species do. There's nothing about the word that implies a "more advanced / more primitive" comparison. (talk) 16:56, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
"The chronological order is in turn interpreted as a sequence of evolutionary stages." (Berlin and Kay, Basic Color Terms [1969], 4). One example, among many. And yes, evolution does not imply progress or direction, neither here in language nor among species. A propos, Saunders gets a lot of "air time," as it were, in this wiki entry. Perhaps some more balance? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:11, 10 April 2012 (UTC)


Berlin and Kay's work proposed that the kinds of basic color terms a culture has, such as black, brown or red, are predictable by the number of color terms the culture has. This is obvious! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A00:1620:C0:50:B95D:EF89:1697:34F7 (talk) 09:15, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

In the 1950s some structural linguists claimed that "languages could differ from each other without limit and in unpredictable ways" (Martin Joos). This book claims that, on the contrary, there are some strong implicational universals... -- AnonMoos (talk) 11:55, 22 October 2014 (UTC)


"Berlin and Kay's work proposed that the kinds of basic color terms a culture has, such as black, brown or red, are predictable by the number of color terms the culture has."

This is hard to understand. The only sense I can make of it is that it's saying a language with many complicated colour names, such as 'puce', 'indigo', 'turquoise' etc., will also have many simple colour names, such as 'red', 'blue' and 'green'. Not only is this a rather an uninteresting observation, the rest of the article makes no mention at all of such a concept, and seems to be talking about something else altogether. It is all quite confusing. (talk) 00:10, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Actually, looking again, I think the problem may be with the apparent contrast of "basic color term" and "color term". I read it that the article was deliberately making a contrast by using different terms, but perhaps this is accidental. Whatever the case, I believe there must be a better way of stating whatever this is trying to say. (talk) 02:19, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
The book gives a list of 8 criteria for distinguishing basic vs. non-basic color terms in language. It deals with implicational universals applying to languages with up to eleven basic color terms (and pretty much ignores non-basic color terms). AnonMoos (talk) 12:03, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Since when is Berkley or California a country?[edit]

Does anyone know the symbolism in this usage of "Berkley" or "California" ? -Dirtclustit (talk) 06:47, 4 April 2015 (UTC)