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Re: Homing Pigeons? Try Homing Crocodiles...

On 10/1/07, Andreas Johansson <andreasj@gmail.com> wrote:
> A great many of the world's languages don't bother with different
> words for "blue" and "green". To speakers of such languages there
> apparently *is* no category difference between them, suggesting that
> "red", "green", and "blue" are particularities not of human vision but
> of some culturally conditioned ways of thinking about colour. I'll try
> and hound down a reference tomorrow.

Yeah, I always thought it was a cultural thing.

I remember learning that, based on the number of basic color words a
language has, you can reliably predict what those color names will be

2: black, white (more like "dark" and "light")
3: black, white, red
4: black, white, red, {green or yellow}
5: black, white, red, green, yellow
... and so on....

Supposedly preindustrial societies tend to have fewer words for
colors, because there are less things that are distinguished only by
color. If need be, color phrases can be made of ad hoc, e.g., "the
color of the sky" for blue. (And our words for colors descend from
such ad hoc phrases -- "black" from a word meaning "burnt", "brown"
from a word meaning "toad", etc.)

Someone correct me if I'm out of date.
Mike Keesey