Information-theoretic efficiency and semantic variation: The case of color naming
- Noga Zaslavsky, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
- Charles Kemp, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
- Terry Regier, Psychology, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States
- Naftali Tishby, School of Computer Science and Engineering , Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem , Israel
AbstractA major question in semantic typology is how to account for semantic universals and variation in a principled and unified way. One approach to this question proposes that word meanings may reflect adaptation to pressure for efficient communication. Color is a semantic domain that has been approached in this spirit. Recent work has relied on the notion of the `informativeness' of word meaning, has often cast that notion in terms borrowed from information theory, and has accounted for several aspects of color naming across languages on that basis.
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