Color: its apprehension and symbolic use in language and culture
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AbstractThe color spectrum has been used as a paradigm to exemplify two basic theoretical approaches (the universalist and the relativist) to the relationship between language and cognition and language and culture. Although both theoretical approaches appeared at first blush to be validated by the use of the color spectrum as a supportive example, upon more detailed examination, neither theoretical disposition is well supported, partly because color is so poorly understood as a natural phenomenon. This thesis works from both theoretical positions in an attempt to understand the symbolic uses of color in both language and culture in terms of the apprehension of color itself. Thus, this thesis is an attempt to understand the human uses of the polychromatic sensitivity of that organism and is not meant to use that sensitivity as exemplar of any particular theoretical predisposition . The conclusions regarding the evolution of color vision are speculative and properly so in what is necessarily a seminal work. The final conclusions regarding the universalist/ relativist debate are based on a rather massive body of data correlating cultural symbols with linguistic symbols for colors, and are of a common sense variety which occupies the middle ground between the extremes of the other two positions, both of which are partly right and, in the final analysis, uncontradictory.
Bibliography: p. 127-136.
CitationStephenson, P. H. (1973). Color: its apprehension and symbolic use in language and culture (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/15932
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