Mien (Yao) color terms

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The aims of this research project are to investigate color terms, the formation of color terms and the evolution of basic color terms in the Mien language, and the attitudes towards colors of the Mien, living in northern Thailand. The data on Mien colors were collected by interviewing 48 female informants, 20–30 years old, in six villages in the provinces of Chiangrai, Phayao, Nan and Lampang, northern Thailand. Two hundred and twenty one color chips cut from a color chart used in the printing business were used for data elicitation. The research results are as follows: there are six basic color terms in the Mien language, pe‘21 WHITE, cia‘45 BLACK, si‘45RED, ja]31 YELLOW, me33 GREEN and bua454 BLUE. The Mien language is thus in Berlin and Kay’s Stage V of color term evolution. It is on its way to reach the sixth stage; that is, the word lua‘ PURPLE is becoming a new basic color term. This finding contradicts the theory that the seventh basic color term in Stage VI should be BROWN.


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