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Presentation Information     2017-02-20 (14:15)   •  4307

Speaker Gunilla Borgefors  (CBA)
Title What do you call that colour? - an engineer reads linguistics
Abstract “Colour linguistics” was a very hot research field 1858 to about 1900 and then restarted in 1969. It has been used as a model for the larger “Nature or Culture” question. Does the nature of human colour perception determine how colour space is divided or is the divisions arbitrary and only cultural conventions? I will talk about some of the history, including how a train crash outside my home town proved that “primitive” tribes colour vision is as developed as Europeans' and thus temporarily gave Culture the victory. I will describe the current understanding of how differently – and yet surprising orderly – languages use colour terms and how that gives Nature the upper hand again. Finally I will show that your mother tongue measurably does influence or colour perception, so Culture changes Nature – somewhat.