Tid: Torsdag 27 februari 2014, kl. 15:00–17:00
Plats: C307, Södra huset, Frescati

Postseminarium följer efter föreläsningen i institutionens pentry.

In my talk, colour terms will be investigated from areal linguistic perspective in three linguistically uniform areas of Europe: the Baltic Sea, Central European and the Mediterranean Regions. The fieldwork carried out in the respective areas proved that purported colour universals seem not to be so universal after all. Basic colour term theory (Berlin and Kay 1969) and its expansions or revisions seem to simplify and overlook some important problems, for example the division of colour categories. Colour terms will be examined in various genetically related and non-related languages (e.g Finnish, Estonian, Udmurt, Lithuanian, Italian) spoken in the abovementioned linguistic areas. The emphasis will be put on such languages that have acquired or are acquiring new colour categories, e.g. “light blue”. Russian is the most well-known language that makes a division between blue and light blue (Davies and Corbett 1994, Paramei 2005, Winawer et al. 2007), being an exception to the 11-BCT upper limit of complexity in the Berlin and Kay sequence. I will argue that Russian may have influenced the partition of blue terms in the languages spoken around the Baltic Sea area and in the neighbourhood, and some of these languages will be investigated in detail. However, the division of a blue category also occurs in the Mediterranean region, which could not be accounted for the influence of Russian. It can only be conjectured what are the underlying processes of such division of blue.

In the second part of my talk I will concentrate on the red category. I will give a brief overview of how and why I believe that the lexicalisation process of blue and red categories in languages differs. My hypothesis will be illustrated by the examples of Hungarian and Czech “reds”. Finally, I will argue that weak relativistic hypothesis might help us to understand the “curious” encoding of colour terms.


Ljuba Veselinova