The surprising pattern behind color names around the world

Share
Embed
  • 
    Loading...
  • Published on:  5/16/2017
  • Why so many languages invented words for colors in the same order.

    Help us make more ambitious videos by joining the Vox Video Lab. It gets you exclusive perks, like livestream Q&As with all the Vox creators, a badge that levels up over time, and video extras bringing you closer to our work! Learn more at http://bit.ly/video-lab

    In 1969, two Berkeley researchers, Paul Kay and Brent Berlin, published a book on a pretty groundbreaking idea: that every culture in history, when they developed their languages, invented words for colors in the exact same order. They claimed to know this based off of a simple color identification test, where 20 respondents identified 330 colored chips by name. If a language had six words, they were always black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue. If it had four terms, they were always black, white, red, and then either green or yellow. If it had only three, they were always black, white, and red , and so on. The theory was revolutionary — and it shaped our understanding of how color terminologies emerge.

    Read more on the research mentioned in this video:

    Cook, Kay, and Regier on the World Color Survey: goo.gl/MTUi9C
    Stephen C. Levinson on Yele color terms: goo.gl/CYDfvw
    John A. Lucy on Hanunó'o color terms: goo.gl/okcyC3
    Loreto, Mukherjee, and Tria on color naming population simulations: goo.gl/rALO1S

    To learn more about how your language's color words can affect the way you think, check out this video lecture: goo.gl/WxYi1q

    Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app.

    Check out our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE
    Follow Vox on Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H
    Or on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06o
  •                                                                    
Loading...

Comment