Towards a semiotic theory of basic colour terms and the semiotics of Juri Lotman

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Semioticians like BCT theory, although there is no semiotic theory of BCTs. In Juri Lotman’s modelling framework, one can analyze the BCTs using the formula “language = code + history” and abandon the technical definition of a BCT (a term is basic if it is frequent and passes some hurdles in experimentation). One can paraphrase Lotman’s formula in the following way: “colour language = BCTs and non-BCTs + history of language and culture”. In this formula, the BCTs form the nucleus of the colour code of a language. A semiotic theory of BCTs can be built up using the formula and numerous dichotomies, i.e. language axes, such as static vs. dynamic, syntagmatic vs. paradigmatic, synchronic vs. diachronic, semasiologic vs. onomasiologic, and logical vs. mythological. These axes organize and model the linguistic colour space (or field of colour).


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