The 1969 publication of Brent Berlin and Paul Kay's Basic Color Terms (also available from
proved explosive and controversial. Contrary to the then-popular
doctrine of random language variation, Berlin and Kay's multilingual
study of color nomenclature indicated a cross-cultural and almost
universal pattern in the selection of colors that received abstract
names in each language. The ensuing debate helped reform the views
of anthropologists, linguists, and psychologists alike.
After four decades in print, Basic Color Terms now has a sequel: in
this book, Kay, Berlin, Luisa Maffi, William R. Merrifield, and
Richard S. Cook
authoritatively extend the original survey, studying
110 additional unwritten languages in detail and in situ. The results are presented even more clearly than
before, with charts showing the overall palette of color terms
within each language as well as the levels of agreement among
speakers. The raw data are also available online.
March 2010 (January 2011 for Paperback edition)