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The Development Of The Basic Colour Terms Of English

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Chapter Summary

The purpose of this chapter is twofold. Firstly, it aims to suggest an order of acquisition for those basic colour terms which currently feature in Present-Day English (PDE). There are many published articles on the basic colour terms of various languages, but they usually present the evidence synchronically, that is, they take the contemporary situation, and extrapolate theories of acquisition from that position. A more enlightening view of basic term acquisition in a modern language can be obtained from a diachronic study, working forwards from prehistory to the present. This proposal raises the matter which is the second aim of the chapter: to suggest how such evidence can be retrieved from the distant past, and how an order of acquisition can be proposed.

Keywords: basic colour terms; diachronic study; Present-Day English (PDE)



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