Yélî Dnye and the theory of basic color terms
Levinson, S. C.
Yélî Dnye and the theory of basic color terms. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 10
( 1), 3-55. doi:10.1525/jlin.2000.10.1.3.
The theory of basic color terms was a crucial factor in the demise of linguistic relativity. The theory is now once again under scrutiny and fundamental revision. This article details a case study that undermines one of the central claims of the classical theory, namely that languages universally treat color as a unitary domain, to be exhaustively named. Taken together with other cases, the study suggests that a number of languages have only an incipient color terminology, raising doubts about the linguistic universality of such terminology.