Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Palmer: Color and consciousness

Asymmetries in the distribution of composite and derived basic color categories

Paul Kay a1
a1 Department of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720 [email protected]


PURPLE (RED-and-BLUE) is the most frequently occurring derived (binary) basic color term (BCT), but there is never a named composite BCT meaning RED-or-BLUE. GREEN-or-BLUE is the most frequently named composite color category, but there is never a BCT for the corresponding derived (binary) category CYAN (BLUE-and-GREEN). Why?