The Use of Colour in Reference Production: A Comparison between Dutch and Greek

Mirjana SekickiFaculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia
Jette ViethenCentre for Language Technology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Martijn GoudbeekTilburg center for Cognition and Communication (TiCC) Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Emiel KrahmerTilburg center for Cognition and Communication (TiCC) Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Abstract

The important role of referring expressions in human communication has inspired much research in the fields of computational linguistics and psycholinguistics. Building on the research done by Viethen, Goudbeek and Krahmer (CogSci, 2012) the present study takes a cross-linguistic perspective on examining the use of the colour attribute in distinguishing a target referent. It aims at answering the following research question: Does the availability of adequate basic colour terms in a language affect the use of colour in reference production? We conducted a language production experiment with native speakers of Dutch and Greek. Our results confirm that the use of the colour attribute in reference production depends on the colour term resources of a particular language. In addition, we have recorded a large cross-linguistic difference in the proportion of the colour attribute use, which we relate to the particular colour nuances used.

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