Prehistoric colour semantics

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Although prehistory is, by definition, a time before written records, or from which no written records survive, and is also, of course, a time for which no native speakers are available, it is the contention of this chapter that a certain amount of information can, nevertheless, be gleaned about colour semantics. The chapter is primarily concerned with the earliest basic colour categories (BCCs) of the Indo-European languages, and the approach taken is to combine various techniques from more than one discipline and to see whether the results corroborate or contradict each other. Linguistic approaches include etymology, core concepts, the UE model, cognates and prototypes while supporting evidence is brought to bear from archaeology, anthropology, art history and the earliest Indo-European texts in Hittite and Vedic Sanskrit.


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