From: Scientific American

Bilingualism Is Reworking This Language’s Rainbow

Like the ancient Greek of Homer’s time, the Tsimane’ language has no set word for the parts of the color spectrum English speakers call “blue.” Although Tsimane’ does name a number of more subjective hues (think “aquamarine” or “mauve” in English), its speakers—the Tsimane’ people of Bolivia—reliably agree on just three main color categories: blackish, reddish and whitish.

But bilingualism is reworking the Tsimane’ tricolor rainbow, researchers recently reported in Psychological Science—offering a rare, real-time glimpse into how learning a second language can change how people think about abstract concepts and fuel language evolution. The data show Tsimane’ speakers who also speak Spanish are borrowing the concepts of—but not the Spanish words for—new color categories such as blue, green and yellow.

Read the whole story (subscription may be required): Scientific American

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