A new study has proven the saying that there is nothing in name by revealing that people worldwide, even nomads in Tanzania, think of colors the same way.
The new study examines how a culture of nomadic hunter-gatherers names colors and shows that they group colors into categories that align with patterns of color grouping evident in 110 other world languages.
This study population – the Hadza people of Tanzania – has relatively few commonly shared color words in its language. During the study, the most common response by Hadza participants to a request to name a color was “Don’t know.”
Researcher Delwin Lindsey said that looking at the Hadza data, they saw a relatively modern color vocabulary emerging, but the color terms are distributed across the entire population, adding that they captured a point in time culturally where the stuff for creating a complex color naming exists, but it’s not in the head of any one individual. It’s distributed in bits and pieces across the culture.
This study provides a very useful framework for thinking about how the terms that are used to describe things in our environment actually emerge and evolve, Lindsey said.
The research is published in the journal Current Biology.