Color naming in Italian language (2015) by G. Paggetti, G. Menega and G. Paramei

Posted on 2015-12-07 - link

Blue wall at Burano by Riccardo Ce

Blue wall at Burano by Riccardo Ce


The present study investigated Italian basic color terms (BCTs). It is an extension of our previous work that explored Italian basic color categories (BCCs) using a constrained color-naming method, with 11 Italian BCTs allowed, including blu for naming the BLUE area. Since a latter outcome indicated a categorization bias, here monolexemic color-naming method was employed, enabling also use of azzurro, deeply entrenched Italian term that designates light blue. In Experiment 1, colors (N = 367), sampling the Munsell Mercator projection, were presented on a CRT; color names and reaction times of vocalization onset were recorded. Naming consistency and consensus were estimated. Consistency was obtained for 12 CTs, including the two blue terms; consensus was found for 11 CTs, excluding rosso “red.” For each consensus category, color with the shortest response time was considered focal. In Experiment 2, consensus stimuli (N = 72) were presented; on each trial, observers indicated the focal color (“best example”) in an array of colors comprising a consensus category. For each of the 12 Italian CCs, centroid was calculated and focal color (two measures) estimated. Compared to English color terms, two outcomes are specific to Italian color naming: (i) naming of the RED-PURPLE area is highly refined, with consistent use of emergent non-BCTs; (ii) azzurro and blu both perform as BCTs dividing the BLUE area along the lightness dimension. The findings are considered in the framework of the weak relativity hypothesis. Historico-linguistic, environmental, and pragmatic communication factors are discussed that conceivably have driven the extension of the BCT inventory in Italian. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Col Res Appl, 2015

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