Watch your language

I just received a copy of a very interesting study made by three Universities in the United Kingdom on colour perception.

They found a tribe in Africa with a language limited to three words to describe colours.  One word for the dark colours, one for middle range colours and one for very light colours.

To make a long a story short, in one of these studies, they showed different illustrations with different shades of the same colour to members of that tribe and they immediately identified the two shades that had a slight difference. But, when they showed the same illustration to westerners, who did not have different words to define those shades of green, they could not find the difference or took a long time to notice it. They haven´t got different words to describe those colours, therefore those westerners couldn’t find the difference so easily.

But when the scientist showed an illustration with six green squares and one blue square, westerners immediately pointed at the blue square, but people from that tribe couldn’t find it. They have the same word to describe both colours. For them the concept was the same and as colours are concepts we create in our minds, they could not find the difference. Continue reading

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 Words

I was trying to understand what two young girls were trying to say to each other while waiting on a platform in an underground station. They were with an adult who I assume was the mother of one of the teenagers.

It was very difficult to understand what they were talking about, but I felt relieved when I notice I was not the only one, the mother and two other ladies were in the same predicament I was.  We obviously were confused with the way some words were used.

I cannot remember exactly what words they were using but, when one of them asked the other the meaning of one of those words, she gave an answer that was far from being correct. Continue reading