[Lingtyp] query: "blue"/"green" and dialectal variation in English

Hartmut Haberland hartmut at ruc.dk
Sun Apr 7 21:43:10 UTC 2019

David, I have no hard data, but with my experience from German (my L1) and a long history of misunderstandings, I am not surprised at all.

Hartmut Haberland
Professor emeritus

Roskilde University
Department of Communication and Arts
Universitetsvej 1
DK-4000 Roskilde
Telephone: +45 46742841

Fra: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> På vegne af David Gil
Sendt: 7. april 2019 23:29
Til: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Emne: [Lingtyp] query: "blue"/"green" and dialectal variation in English

Dear all,

I've recently become aware of dialectal variation within English with respect to the denotation of the colour terms "blue" and "green"; specifically, the extent to which they apply to intermediate colours such as cyan, turquoise and teal.  I'm currently running an informal survey on google forms (see link below); the results are still coming in, but I'm already observing interesting dialectal variation.  For example, in stimulus 8, showing a shade of teal, subjects are presented with a forced choice task: is it "blue" or "green"?  The percentage of subjects who chose "blue" range from 19% in Australian English (23 subjects) to 65% in USA English (97 subjects), with other countries occupying intermediate positions on the scale.

My question: has anybody described this kind of variation within English dialects before?  It's the world's most studied language, and a very popular domain of investigation, and yet a Google search didn't come up with any references to precisely this kind of variation.  Any comments related to this topic would be appreciated.





David Gil

Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany

Email: gil at shh.mpg.de<mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>

Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834

Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816

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