Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The lexicographic treatment of color terms
by Williams, Krista, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2014, 196; 3624240
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the main question, "What are the issues involved in the definition and translation of color terms in dictionaries?" To answer this question, I examined color term definitions in monolingual dictionaries of French and English, and color term translations in bilingual dictionaries of French paired with nine languages. From this data, I made several discoveries. First, I created a typology of strategies used to define color terms that includes three strategies: Defining with Reference to the Spectrum of Visible Light, Defining with Reference to Relationship with Other Colors, and Defining with Reference to Objects. Second, both color definitions and color translations suggest that there is a smaller difference between color words (which have non-scientific senses) and color terms (which have scientific senses) than between scientific and non-scientific senses of many other words/terms. In addition, color word translating often involves treating differences in the grammar, semantics, and division of color space between two languages. I took a closer look at the French translations of the color words brown and purple, two particularly difficult words to translate into French due to semantic restrictions. I found that, whereas the translation patterns of modern Quebec French match those of older hexagonal French dictionaries, hexagonal French dictionaries now display a different pattern. All of these discoveries lead to avenues for future research that may improve color term defining and translating.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rottet, Kevin J.
Commitee: Adams, Michael P., Auger, Julie, Valdman, Albert
School: Indiana University
Department: French
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics, Modern language
Keywords: Color terms, Dictionaries, Translations
Publication Number: 3624240
ISBN: 978-1-303-97400-7
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