Semiotics of Color
Proposal by Prof. Mony Almalech, Dr. Habil. (NBU) firstname.lastname@example.org
Round table Semiotics of Color
Color should be treated as a language, as a communicative system. Colors are visual sign and natural language sign. Colors are unique because of their capacity to be a cultural unit in terms of Eco.
Different approaches and territories are welcomed:
Color naming and color vision – cross-cultural universals and non-universals
Sociosemiotic approach, e.g. color codification in society; color of clothes as a social sign; ritual semantic category; ethnographic interdisciplinary method; folk semantic category; anthropology report; structural analysis of color and instructional categories in traffic control signals, etc.
Psychology approach, e.g. colors – notion and emotion associations;
Word associations to stimulus-color terms as a dictionary of non-color meanings (local or/and universal);
Synesthesia and culture phenomena (local or universal);
Physical (e.g. Munsell color chips) and color names as stimuli in testing cultures;
Colors and prototypes
Color and visual metaphors
Color in linguistic metaphors and their translation as a semiotic challenge
Semantics of color names
Hue, saturation, and brightness – ethno-linguistic and semiotic case
Color naming and cross-cultural contrasts/similarities
Color in Business, Science and Industry
Internal structure of color naming
Translation of basic color terms
Color and other sing systems – e.g. colors and signs of femininity in advertisements
Color impact and communication in folklore
Color impact and communication in literature
Color structures and communication in folklore
Color communication and manipulation in advertisements
Color communication in architecture and design
Color and sound (speech; music) as two sign systems – possible and impossible relations
Color and Philosophers
Color of money
Color symbolism of illustrations in religious texts
Tri- and four chromatic codes in different cultures
Color of animals – signal, disguise, mimicry and other sign functions
1. Evangelos Kourdis, Université Aristote de Thessaloniki (email@example.com)
Colour as Intersemiotic Translation in Everyday Communication
Intersemiosis characterises the whole semiotic phenomenon, which is based on what Jakobson (2001 ) calls intersemiotic translation or transmutation, that is the interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs of non-verbal systems. Jakobson did not give examples of transmutation between language and colour, a semiotic system which is usually included within the iconic sign system. The autonomy of the semiotic system of colour was underlined by the Belgian semioticians, known as Groupe μ (1992) who elaborated on Barthes’ (1964) classification of semiotic signs, criticising linguistic imperialism and emphasising the specificity of the visual sign. For Groupe μ (1995), there is evidence that the plastic element (colour, form, texture) is autonomous from the iconic representation, and in fact plastic and iconic elements complement each other.
This autonomy allows for colour to serve as one of the two poles in intersemiotic translation. In my study, I will present cases of everyday communication (commercial signs, advertisements, course books, etc.) where this intersemiosis between language and colour is realized, and I will examine also the reasons intersemiosis was chosen.
Barthes, R. (1964). ‘‘La rhétorique de l’image’’. Communications 4: 40-51
Groupe μ. (1992). Traité du signe visuel. Pour une rhétorique de l'image. Paris: Seuil
Groupe μ. (1995). ‘‘A rhetoric of visual statements’’. In T.-A. Sebeok and D.-J. Umiker-Sebeok, Advances in visual semiotics: thesemiotic web 1992-93. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 581-599.
Jakobson R. (2001 ). ‘‘On linguistic aspects of translation’’. In L. Venuti (ed.), The Translation Studies Reader. New York and London: Routledge, 138-143.
2. Mony Almalech, firstname.lastname@example.org
Visual and Verbal Color Language (Biology, Prototypes and non-color meanings of colors)
In last decades, scholars were concentrated of semantics of Basic Color Terms (BCT) and categorization of colors. The starting point was Berlin and Kay’s Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution (1969) which was fallowed by few general improvements by Kay, MacLaury, Wierzbicka, Prototype Theory of Rosch. Semiotics of color should include not only BCT but also non-BCT - natural and artifactual objects - Terms for Prototypes (sky, fire, light, etc.) and Prototype Rival Terms (linen, cherry,duckling, yolk, egg, ruby, wine, sapphire etc.). Semiotics of color should needs multidisciplinary (holistic) approach to cope with the task.
Task: To describe the non-color meaning of colors.
- The colors are percept visually (Visual color language/non-Verbalized color language) and by natural languages (Verbal/Verbalized color language).
- All men's vision was and has been identical.
- The human anatomy has an organ of perception of the signs but has no ‘organs of speech’.
- Compared to the natural language the color language has very small amount of lexemes – the colors and the color terms (basic and non-basic) – in the best case – 20-30 up to 50 lexemes in a literary language.
- The ambiguity should be much higher than the ambiguity in the natural languages.
- Multidisciplinary (holistic) approach – all kinds of linguistic methods, cultural and semiotic factors, philosophy, theology and physics of color, biology etc.
- Prototypes, Word-associations and universal non-color meanings. The results of the Bulgarian Norm (and not only) show that the biggest statistical frequency at the Norm belongs to the Prototypes Terms and the most specific qualities of the Prototypes, e.g. ‘clean’ for white. (Алмалех, 97-98; 2001; 2011a). This calls for a list of the corresponding meanings between the Norm of Word-Associations, the Folklore, and Secret Religious-Mystic area. The list contains sustainable associations that are the same for thousands of people. We speak about kernel meanings which are mutual between the Visual Color Language (folklore, advertisements - Almalech, 1996; 2011a; Алмалех, 1997; 2006a; 2007) and the Verbal Color Language Алмалех, 97-98; 2001; 2006; 2010; 2011b; 2012).
Conclusion: It is possible to prove a small kern of Universal non-color meanings in color language of any type.
3. Alexander Borg
The linguistic and social semiotics of confessional affiliation in the Near East
This paper draws on an ongoing project surveying lexical usage in the Arabic- and Aramaic-speaking regions of the Near East, where past linguistic research (e.g., H.Blanc’s, Communal Dialects in Baghdad, Cambridge, Mass, 1964) has established the relevance of communal configurations for a realistic reconstruction of this regions human and linguistic history. This study pleads for a more elaborate research agenda on the scale of a language and culture atlas of this region probing pregnant cognitive domains represented in the general lexicon.