Color terms and color perception. Reconciling universalism and relativism

  • Laura Anna Ciaccio

Abstract

The theory postulating that language shapes the way we perceive reality, mostly known as Linguistic Relativity or Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, has been widely debated in the past years. In particular, an increasing number of studies dealt with the relationship between color naming and color perception, this being more easily observable than other rather abstract language categories. While some research on this field provided evidence for language effects on color perception, others stressed cross-linguistic universal tendencies in color naming and perception. Although supporters of the two main approaches have struggled to establish their theories rejecting the opposite view for many years, a new reconciling approach between them seems to emerge in more recent literature. On one hand, this position would acknowledge the existence of universal tendencies in color naming. At the same time, posit that there can also be differences in the way languages encode color boundaries, these differences may, in turn, affect color perception. As a result, the two views not only seem compatible, but even complementary. According to this interpretation, the present paper aims at providing a review on the recent literature concerning color naming and color perception.

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Published
2015-12-30
How to Cite
Ciaccio, L. A. (2015) “Color terms and color perception. Reconciling universalism and relativism”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 9(2). Available at: http://www.rifl.unical.it/index.php/rifl/article/view/328 (Accessed: 23October2021).