Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology

Living Edition
| Editors: Ronnier Luo

Multilingual/Bilingual Color Naming/Categories

  • Nancy AlvaradoEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27851-8_50-7


A bilingual person is a person fluent in more than one language, either from birth or acquired later in life. A multilingual person is fluent in more than two languages. Color naming is the process of assigning color terms to refer to color appearances in the world. Color categories are mental representations of the regions of color space that are designated by particular color terms or names.

Empirical Comparisons

The influence of culture on color perception and categorization is most often studied by comparing the use of single-word (monolexemic) color terms to name color categories across different languages, as in the World Color Survey [1, 2]. Color categorization and naming have been studied across a wide range of cultures to explore questions about the universality of basic color categories, relativism of color naming and/or perception, and the ways in which color perception contribute to color naming. However, such comparisons between groups of individuals speaking...


Perceptual Experience Color Sample Basic Term Color Naming Basic Color 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Kay, P., Berlin, B., Maffi, L., Merrifield, W., Cook, R.: The World Color Survey. CSLI Publications, Stanford (2009)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Berlin, B., Kay, P.: Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. University of California Press, Berkeley (1969)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jameson, K.A., Alvarado, N.: Differences in color naming and color salience in Vietnamese and English. Color. Res. Appl. 28, 113–138 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Alvarado, N., Jameson, K.A.: The use of modifying terms in the naming and categorization of color appearances in Vietnamese and English. J. Cogn. Cult. 2(1), 53–80 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Alvarado, N., Jameson, K.A.: Shared knowledge about emotion among Vietnamese and English bilingual and monolingual speakers. J. Cross-Cult. Psychol. 42, 964–983 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bullock, B.E., Toribio, A.J. (eds.): The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Code-Switching, 1st edn. Cambridge University Press, London (2009)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pavlenko, A., Driagina, V.: Russian emotion vocabulary in American learners’ narratives. Mod. Lang. J. 91, 213–234 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Pavlenko, A.: Emotion and emotion-laden words in the bilingual lexicon. Biling. Lang. Cogn. 11, 147–164 (2008)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    MacLaury, R.: From brightness to hue: an explanatory model of color-category evolution. Curr. Anthropol. 33, 137–163 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Schirillo, J.: Tutorial on the importance of color in language and culture. Color. Res. Appl. 26, 179–192 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Van Brakel, J.: Comment on “from brightness to hue”. Curr. Anthropol. 33, 169–172 (1992)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Burgess, D., Kempton, W., MacLaury, R.: Tarahumara color modifiers: category structure presaging evolutionary change. Am. Ethnol. 10, 133–149 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lin, H., Luo, M., MacDonald, L., Tarrant, A.: A cross-cultural colour-naming study. Part I: using an unconstrained method. Color. Res. Appl. 26, 40–60 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and SociologyCalifornia State Polytechnic University, PomonaPomonaUSA