On the non-existence of blue-yellow and red-green color terms
A component of the universal evolution model of color terms is that blue-yellow and red-green color terms should not exist in the world’s languages. This is because such terms would confound opponent colors (Hering 1920, Hurvich & Jameson 1955). However, some relativist scholars, namely Saunders and van Brakel (1997) and McNeill (1972), maintain that some languages do have such terms. This paper considers these claims and shows that they are unfounded: Either an alleged blue-yellow term is actually a yellow-green-blue term; one or more basic color terms have undergone semantic extension; a term’s basic meaning is ‘pale or faded’; or the data were not properly analyzed.
Published online: 07 December 2001