The spread of RED in the Historical Thesaurus of English

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The basic colour category red and its exponents occupies an important place in the development of colour vocabulary, whether in the evolution of colour perception, infant language learning, or the history of particular languages. This chapter focuses on the development of the red category in English using data from the Historical Thesaurus of English, which lists synonyms from the earliest English records until the present day. Comparison with other English BCCs shows that red has by far the largest number of exponents over history and the steepest increase in lexis in the modern period. The close relationship of red and pink, the youngest of the English BCCs, is also explored.


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