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Color naming in Africa

Abstract : This chapter is the first large-scale typological survey of the lexical means used in African languages to express color-related meanings. It is based on a very large sample, with data from 350 languages, most of which come from the RefLex online lexical database. It focuses on semantic and morphosyntactic strategies as well as contact induced strategies used for color naming. After a discussion of the issues raised by “basic” color terms, and “polychromatic” color terms, the chapter provides a review of the semantic sources of color terms, the origin of borrowings, colexifications and metaphorical uses of NPs, main patterns of lexicalization, and, briefly, ideophones.
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Contributor : Guillaume Segerer <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - 6:22:12 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 10, 2020 - 12:44:47 PM




Guillaume Segerer, Martine Vanhove. Color naming in Africa. Raffaelli, Ida; Katunar, Daniela; Kerovec, Barbara. Lexicalization patterns in colour naming: a cross-linguistic perspective, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp.287-330, 2019, Studies in functional and Structural Linguistics, 9789027204035. ⟨10.1075/sfsl.78.13seg⟩. ⟨halshs-01961288⟩



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