The 1969 publication of Paul Kay and Brent Berlin's Basic Color Terms proved explosive and controversial. Contrary to the then-popular doctrine of random language variation, Kay and Berlin's multilingual study of color nomenclature indicated a cross-cultural and almost universal pattern in the selection of colors that received abstract names in each language. The ensuing debate helped reform the views of anthropologists, linguists, and biologists alike.
After three decades in print, Basic Color Terms now has a sequel: in this book, Kay, Berlin, Luisa Maffi, and William R. Merrifield authoritatively defend and complete the original survey, studying ninety more languages in detail with the help of native collaborators. The results are presented even more clearly than before, with charts showing the overall palette of color terms within each language as well as the levels of agreement among speakers. Their raw data are also available online, ready to fuel or settle a new round of disputes.