SEP 26, 2017 04:41 AM PDT

How Language Describes Color Differences

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While the eye can take in hundreds of thousands of different shades and colors and the brain can process them, noting even small differences in shades, the way language is used to describe color varies depending on what native language is spoken.

In some dialects there can be as few as three or four words to describe shades and colors, but in other cultures there are several different categories, with specific words for all the different hues. In a new study from MIT, cognitive scientists looked at how different speakers described colors on the spectrum and found a pattern across 100 different languages.

In language, colors along the spectrum are often described differently depending on where on the range they fall. Warmer colors, like orange, red and yellow a new study, MIT cognitive scientists have found that languages tend to divide the “warm” part of the color spectrum into more color words, such as orange, yellow, and red, are described with many more words and categories, than the blues and greens that are on the “cooler” parts of the spectrum. First author of the study, Edward Gibson, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT explained his research, stating, “When we look at it, it turns out it’s the same across every language that we studied. Every language has this amazing similar ordering of colors, so that reds are more consistently communicated than greens or blues. What this me