How Colours are Semantically Construed in the Arabic and English Culture: A Comparative study

  •  Amna Hasan    
  •  Nabiha Al-Sammerai    
  •  Fakhrul Kadir    


Most works in cognitive semantics have been focusing on the manner, in which an individual behaves - be it the mind, brain, or even computers, which process various kinds of information. Among humans, in particular, social life is richly cultured. Sociality and culture are made possible by cognitive studies; they provide specific inputs to cognitive processes (Wilson & Keil, 1999). The current work focussed on the use of colours as a term throughout the Arabic and English culture. In fact, one colour may imply different meanings at the same place, and this makes us ponder on how colours are construed in cross cultural diversity? In this vein, the current work referred to the etymological meaning of the colour terms, and provided six basic Arabic colour terms and cross to six English colour terms. Using the cognitive cultural categorization for each colour term, three different meanings were identified - basic meaning, extended meaning and additional meaning. ‘Basic meaning’ refers to the original meaning of the colour term, whereas ‘extended meaning’ refers to the meaning extended from the original meaning throughout human experience and ‘additional meaning’ refers to the meaning which has been further abstracted from the extended meaning. Thus, the aim of this work was to show how meanings of colours are identified in the different cultures of Arabic and English, and in the way whereby both languages are relevant and different for each colour term.

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