On the Psychophysiological Bases of UniversalColor Terms.

The Basic Colour TermsAt this point we should go back to Berlin and Kay's hypothesis.

Tonal Iconicity in Bini Color Terms. 34: 188-191.


In 1969 Berlin and Kay published the results of their extensive comparativeresearch on Colour Terms in languages around the world (Berlin and Kay(1969).

Berlin and Kay do not have the last mentioned colour name; Koski 1983:267).

The linguistic significance of the meanings of basic color terms.

In fact, it is possible to take their hypothesis as a counterbalance to Sapir and Whorf's relativism (1969:1-2).

After the publication of Berlin and Kay's book there came numerous objections from the supporters of cultural relativity theory.

In English the basic terms given by Berlin and Kay were:(Berlin, Kay 1969:2).3.1.

Bloomfield (1933:140): "Physicists view the color-spectrum as a continuous scale of light-waves of different lengths, ranging from 40 to 72 hundred-thousandths of a millimeter, but languages mark off different parts of this scale quite arbitrarily and without precise limits, in the meanings of such color-names as and the color-names of different languages do not embrace the same gradations."

Until the publication of Berlin and Kay's such opinions were widespread.

The disadvantages of Berlin and Kay's method have repeatedly been pointed out (e.g.


“Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution” …

When thesecolour terms alone were considered, Berlin and Kay's survey revealed thatthere are languages containing between 2 and 11 colour terms around theworld, the number generally following the degree of technical developmentof the culture concerned. They also found that the termsobserved depend on how many there are, according to a universal scheme.

and Kay hypothesis is applied to Hans Henny Jahnn's ..

In any mandala with only 4 colours the Berlin and Kay study tells usthey will be: Black , White, Red and either Yellow or Grue,if we assume that in these symbols colours are also colour .

punane (red) (corresponding to Berlin and Kay's 2nd stage).

Boynton, Olson 1987; Bornstein 1973; Witkowski, Brown 1978; Hardin 1988; Kay, McDaniel 1978; Kuschel, Monberg 1974; Turton 1980, etc.) try to demonstrate its validity and elaborate the theory without changing its essence.

Berlin and Kay's 1969 monograph, ..

Thus we can supposethat first it splits into two semi-circles: so that in line with Berlinand Kay's findings, the initial White colour term actually contains thehues of final White, Red and Yellow colour terms, while the initial Blackincludes Black, Green and Blue, (Kay and MacDaniel (1978)).

After Berlin and Kay’s work, ..

The most typical example is definitely Berlin and Kay's hypothesis of the evolution of basic colour terms (1969), according to which the development of material culture (technology) induces the transition of the language from one stage to the next, but the essence and sequence of the stages is determined by the neurophysiology of colour perception (see also Kay, McDaniel 1983).

Broadly speaking, this is a question of the autonomy of language in relation to other aspects of culture and the so-called pan-linguistic laws that take the psycho-physiological rather than geographic or cultural determination of a language as their point of departure.

proposed that Berlin and Kay's ..

In view of the fact that Berlin and Kay showed that colourterm evolution can take two alternative paths after Red (either Yellowor Grue next, and then both, see Fig.3 above), it is particularly interestingthat the Roman tradition has the fourth colour as Green while the Indianhas Yellow, (Lyle (1990): 3, 8-12).