Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology

2016 Edition
| Editors: Ming Ronnier Luo

World Color Survey

  • Paul KayEmail author
  • Richard S. Cook
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-8071-7_113


The World Color Survey collected comprehensive color-naming data from an average of 24 speakers of each of 110 unwritten languages from around the world. Analysis of these data has resulted in a number of research publications. The data are available at http://www1.icsi.berkeley.edu/wcs/data.html.


The World Color Survey (WCS) was undertaken to investigate the main findings of Berlin and Kay (B&K) [1]. These were (A) that there exist universal crosslinguistic constraints on color naming and (B) that basic color terminology systems tend to develop in a partially fixed order. To this end, the WCS collected color-naming data from speakers of 110 unwritten languages. The WCS data are available in the WCS Data Archive. This entry reviews the history of the WCS, including the creation of the online data archive, and describes some recent uses of the archive to investigate constraints on color naming across languages.

The WCS: History and Methodology

The WCS was begun...
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA