Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Summary Details

Query:   Color Survey
Author:  matubara matubara
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Semantics

Summary:   Dear linguists;

After a huge delay, I would like to post the summary of my color
survey conducted as part of my graduation thesis last fall with the
help of 51 volunteers from Linguistlist. (15 languages: English 15
people, Polish 7,German 6, Russian 4, French 2, Italian 2, Greek 2,
Hungarian 2, Chinese 2, Persian, Sebian, Turkish, Dutch, Czech,
Spanish, Fijian, Hebrew, Berber and Moroccan Arabic, 1 person
respectively). I apologize for the delay of this summary, as I express
sincere thanks for the people who offered their time and thoughts for
me. I am sorry for a few people to whom I was not able to respond for
various reasons.

Q1: How many colors do the rainbow have to you? What colors are they?
Results: 23 people mentioned 7 colors, 13 people 6 colors, and one
person said 8 (which was the largest number). The smallest nunmer was
3 colors ( one person). 12 people out of the 23 who voted for 7 colors
listed the following ones: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo,
and violet. Interestingly, those who voted for 6 colors dropped indigo
from the above list, all of them.

Q2: To those who answered Q1, what is the basis for saying so?
a. I was taught in school/at home.(Chosen by 28 people)
b. I learned in a book or some form of publication in my home
country.(Chosen by 9 people)
c. It is handed down by word of mouth. (Chosen by 10 people)
d. I actually conted in a rainbow. (Chosen by 7 people)
e. others (12 people: consent of the wife, from a folk tale, from
imaganation, etc)
Comments: This shows how influential school education is in seeing the objective reality of the rainbow.

Q3: Is there any convenient way in your language to memorize the
colors of the rainboW? For instance, in British English there are such
set phrases as "Richard of York gained battles in vain" (the first
letter of each word standing for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue,
Indigo, and Violet) for girls and Vibgyor(acronym) for boys.
Results: 13 people responded in the affirmative, 9 people in Englsih, 2 in Russian, 1 in Polish, and 1 in German. 6 English-speaking people( 4 of them Americans) had another phrase "ROY G BIV."

Q4: What are the basic colors to you?
Results: Because of the vagueness of the term "basic color", many
people duly expressed the inadequacy of the question. I admit this was
an inappropriate question and therefore do not discuss the results

Thank you,
Mariko Matubara

LL Issue: 10.686
Date Posted: 06-May-1999
Original Query: Read original query


Sums main page