Linguistic categorization of BLUE in Standard Italian

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The chapter aims to establish the status of three salient colour terms for blue: blu, azzurro and celeste, in the standard variety of Italian. A number of experiments were performed to examine the context-free and context-sensitive behaviour of blue terms. The results, consistent with previous studies, reveal that Italian speakers tend to distinguish lighter blue(s) from darker blue in daily speech, regarding them as autonomous categories. Although blu seems to be the most prevalent term, used with high consensus, both azzurro and celeste also tend to be salient high-frequency terms. The choice between azzurro and celeste depends on speakers’ dialectal background. Furthermore, it is conjectured which linguistic and non-linguistic factors tend to bias the linguistic categorization of colour terms in general.


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