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Semantics versus pragmatics in colour categorization

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2019

Nick Braisby
Department of Psychology, London Guildhall University, London, E1 7NT,
Bradley Franks
Department of Psychology, London School of Economics, London, WC2A 2AE,


We argue that the confusing pattern of evidence concerning colour categorization reported by Saunders & van Brakel is unsurprising. On a perspectival view, categorization may follow semantic or pragmatic attributes. Colour lacks clear semantic attributes; as a result categorization is necessarily pragmatic and context-sensitive. This view of colour categorization helps explain the developmental delay in colour naming.

Open Peer Commentary
1997 Cambridge University Press

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