Talking About Color (09-21-21)

Recently completed research indicates that there may be good reasons we talk about colors in the ways we do.  Investigators lead by Twomey have learned that “cultures across the globe differ in their need to communicate about certain colors.   Linking almost all languages, however, is an emphasis on communicating about warm colors—reds and yellows—that are known to draw the human eye and that correspond with the colors of ripe fruits in primate diets. . . . .While an emphasis on reds and yellows was universal, certain languages also had high communicative needs for blues, while greens turned up as important in other languages. . . . Cultures that shared similar ecoregions were more similar in their communicative needs around colors, perhaps owing to plants or animals in that region that were important for food or other uses.” The Twomey-lead study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Mapping Words to Color.”  2021.  Press release, University of Pennsylvania,