Differences in the distribution of colour terms in colour space in the Russian, Udmurt and Komi languages

  • Elena Ryabina


This article compares data of Russian, Udmurt and Komi on the distribution of colour terms in Ostwald’s colour space. Data of Russian derive from an article by Davies and Corbett (1994). Data from Udmurt and Komi were originally collected by using the field method suggested for establishing basic colour terms by Davies and Corbett (1994, 1995). Sixty-five coloured tiles were used as stimuli. It was found that the distribution of colour terms differed even in closely related languages. In addition, there are differences in the distribution of the pink colour in the Southern and Northern dialects of Udmurt. It can be argued that the distribution of colour terms in colour space is language-specific and dependent on culture. The data on unrelated languages showed that colour perception by Northern Udmurt subjects, compared to that by Southern Udmurts, was more influenced by Russian. Udmurt, like Russian, possesses a term for light blue, which in the Northern dialect was located in the same part of colour space as in Russian


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