Wednesday 26 November 2014

Colour Blind

An interesting article, all be it from a dodgy source, on the way the language we use to describe colours may affect how many colours we register: How the language you speak affects what you see.

On the left, you can see the number of English names for colour hues, and the right shows how there are much fewer names for colours in Chinese. In English, the most popular base colours are blue, pink and green, while in China red, blue and green are more prominent.

The concept of Linguistic relativity concerns the relationship between language and thought, specifically whether language influences thought, and, if so, how. This question has led to research in multiple disciplines—especially anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and philosophy. Among the most popular and controversial theories in this area of scholarly work is the theory of linguistic relativity (also known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis). An often-cited "strong version" of the claim, first given by Lenneberg in 1953, proposes that language structure determines how we perceive the world. A "weaker version" of this claim posits that language structure influences the world view of speakers of a given language but does not determine it.

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