Paul Kay

Paul Kay
University of California, Berkeley | UCB · Department of Linguistics

Ph D. Harvard 1963

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133
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (133)
Article
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A typical finite clause in English has a single constituent that serves as subject. This constituent precedes the finite verb in non-inverted clauses like simple declarative clauses, follows the finite verb in inverted clauses like polar questions, agrees in person and number with the finite verb and with a tag subject when a tag is present, underg...
Conference Paper
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In null instantiation (NI) an optionally unexpressed argument receives either anaphoric or existential interpretation (Fillmore, 1986; Mauner & Koenig, 2000; Kay, 2002; Ruppenhofer & Michaelis, 2010, 2014). Examples include Lexically licensed NI (Nixon resigned ∅), Contextual acessibility NI (Can I see ∅?), Labelese (∅) contains alcohol), Diary NI...
Article
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In null instantiation (NI) an optionally unexpressed argument receives either anaphoric or existential interpretation (Fillmore, 1986; Mauner & Koenig, 2000; Kay, 2002; Ruppenhofer & Michaelis, 2010, 2014). Examples include Lexically licensed NI (Nixon resigned.), Contextual accessibility NI (Can I see?), Labelese (Contains alcohol), Diary NI (Got...
Chapter
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This paper provides a compositional, lexically based analysis of the infinitival, verb-headed idiom exemplified by the sentences What does this have to do with me? and It may have had something to do with money. 1 Using conventions of Sign-Based Construction Grammar (SBCG, Sag 2012, Kay and Sag 2012, Michaelis 2012), we show that this multiword exp...
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The English auxiliary system exhibits many lexical exceptions and subregularities, and considerable dialectal variation, all of which are frequently omitted from generative analyses and discussions. This paper presents a detailed, movement-free account of the English Auxiliary System within Sign-Based Construction Grammar (Sag 2010, Michaelis 2011,...
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An analysis in Sign-Based Construction Grammar of the English multi-word idiom "to do with" meaning, roughly, 'bear a relation to'. This idiom has an interesting set of syntactic and semantic privileges of occurrence, which are succinctly accounted for in an SBCG analysis.
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Alexandre Surrallés [S] (2016) claims that the language isolate Candoshi of Amazonian Peru contains no names for colors, contrary to what has been reported for the World Color Survey [WCS] (Kay et al. 1997, Kay et al. 2009, among others, and by Tuggy 2008). S's arguments are not persuasive and there is evidence independent of the WCS that the Cando...
Conference Paper
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One of the major motivations for a construction-based approach to syntax is that a given rule of syntactic formation can often be associated with more than one semantic specification. For example, a pair of expressions like purple plum and alleged thief call on different rules of semantic combination. The first involves something related to interse...
Chapter
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This chapter proposes that systems of semantic categories in the world's languages reflect the need for efficient communication, in that they near-optimally balance the competing principles of simplicity and informativeness. It first briefly reviews existing work that is relevant to the proposal. Next, it develops a general-purpose computational fr...
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Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (1983), pp. 128-137
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Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: General Session Dedicated to the Contributions of Charles J. Fillmore (1994)
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This paper presents a theory of syntactically flexible phrasal idioms that explains the properties of such phrases, e.g. keep tabs on, spill the beans in terms of general combinatoric restrictions on the individual idiomatic words (more precisely, the lexemes) that they contain, e.g. keep, tabs, on. Our lexi-cal approach, taken together with a cons...
Conference Paper
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The role of communication in the evolution of language is currently the subject of controversy. Chomsky (2002, 2005) has speculated that “The use of language for communication might turn out to be a kind of epiphenomenon… If you want to make sure that we never misunderstand one another, for that purpose language is not well designed, because you ha...
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The average of a color distribution has special significance for color coding (e.g., to estimate the illuminant) but how it depends on the visual representation (e.g., perceptual versus cone-opponent) or nonlinearities (e.g., categorical coding) is unknown. We measured the perceived average of two colors shown alternated in spatial arrays. Observer...
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Charles J. (Chuck) Fillmore, 67th president of the Linguistic Society of America, died on February 13, 2014, at his home in San Francisco, California. Fillmore was one of the world’s preeminent linguists. His career spanned more than half a century, during which he contributed a reliably constant stream of original and influential ideas in many are...
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Recent studies have demonstrated that observers can readily extract the average value of a stimulus set, for dimensions ranging from motion to orientation to facial expressions. We have examined the ability to judge the average value of pairs of colors. Stimuli were composed of two alternating colors displayed in an 11 by 11 array of x deg spots. O...
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The visual system can reliably extract the average value of stimulus distributions that vary along many dimensions, from orientation to facial expressions. We examined how sensitive observers were to the average chromaticity of color distributions. This average has special significance for color coding (e.g. to estimate the illuminant) but how it m...
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Modern grammatical research, 1 at least in the realms of morphosyntax, in-cludes a number of largely nonoverlapping communities that have surpris-ingly little to do with one another. One – the Universal Grammar (UG) camp – is mainly concerned with a particular view of human languages as instantia-tions of a single grammar that is fixed in its gener...
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Since the middle of the last century, studies of color naming and color perception have
Chapter
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One of the major motivations for constructional approaches to grammar is that a given rule of syntactic formation can sometimes, in fact often, be associated with more than one semantic specification. For example, a pair of expressions like purple plum and alleged thief call on different rules of semantic combination. The first involves something c...
Article
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We examined categorical effects in color appearance in two tasks, which in part differed in the extent to which color naming was explicitly required for the response. In one, we measured the effects of color differences on perceptual grouping for hues that spanned the blue-green boundary, to test whether chromatic differences across the boundary we...
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Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (1984), pp. 157-171
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Previous studies have shown that the effect of language on categorical perception of color is stronger when stimuli are presented in the right visual field than in the left. To examine whether this lateralized effect occurs preattentively at an early stage of processing, we monitored the visual mismatch negativity, which is a component of the event...
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The human brain has been shown to exhibit changes in the volume and density of gray matter as a result of training over periods of several weeks or longer. We show that these changes can be induced much faster by using a training method that is claimed to simulate the rapid learning of word meanings by children. Using whole-brain magnetic resonance...
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Observers differ in the stimuli they choose for unique hues (i.e. pure red, green, blue, and yellow) or binary hues (e.g. orange, purple, yellow-green, and blue-green). Yet there is little correlation between these choices, suggesting that different color categories are influenced by largely independent factors (Malkoc et al., JOV 2002). We examine...
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Color-normal observers show large and reliable differences in the stimuli they choose as unique hues, yet the variations across hues are uncorrelated, suggesting that they are constrained by independent factors. We compared the patterns of variation for both unique hues (red, green, blue, and yellow) and intermediate hues (orange, purple, blue-gree...
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Jones's analysis of Seneca kinship semantics gets some of the facts about close relatives wrong, and his mechanism for extending the analysis to distant relatives does not work.
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Focal choices for basic color terms in different languages are tightly clustered around similar regions of color space, pointing to strong universal tendencies in color naming (Kay and Regier, PNAS 2003). We asked whether the foci within these clusters can also show significant variation across languages, by analyzing data from the World Color Surv...
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Linguistic categories have been shown to influence perceptual discrimination, to do so preferentially in the right visual field, to fail to do so when competing demands are made on verbal memory, and to vary with the color-term boundaries of different languages. However, because there are strong commonalities across languages in the placement of co...
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This chapter focuses on color naming, and color cognition and perception. It first reviews the debate over color naming and cognition, highlighting the apparent conflation of the following questions - Are semantic distinctions in languages determined by largely arbitrary linguistic convention? Do semantic differences cause corresponding cognitive o...
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Many languages without separate terms for “green” and “blue” are or were spoken by people in locations receiving above-average exposure to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation. Lindsey and Brown (2002) suggest this increased exposure to UV-B radiation could explain the lack of a separate term for “blue” in these languages due to premature lens brunescenc...
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Color naming in the world's languages has traditionally been viewed as reflecting either a universal set of focal colors, or linguistic relativity. Recently, a different view has gained support: color naming may be accounted for in terms of the overall shape of perceptual color space. Here, we show that the new shape-based perspective can clarify w...
Article
Editor's note: Because these comments on the Purum case document the openness of scientific exchange we feel that they are all worthy of publication. Because space is very limited we do so in small print. Ackerman's reply will be published in the next issue of the American Anthropologist. (GDS).
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This paper analyzes the interrelation of two understudied phenomena of English: discontinuous modifier phenomenon (so willing to help out that they called early; more ready for what was coming than I was) and the complex pre-determination phenomenon (this delicious a lasagna; How hard a problem (was it)?). Despite their independence, they frequentl...
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The Whorf hypothesis holds that we view the world filtered through the semantic categories of our native language. Over the years, consensus has oscillated between embrace and dismissal of this hypothesis. Here, we review recent findings on the naming and perception of color, and argue that in this semantic domain the Whorf hypothesis is half right...
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The effect of language on the categorical perception of color is stronger for stimuli in the right visual field (RVF) than in the left visual field, but the neural correlates of the behavioral RVF advantage are unknown. Here we present brain activation maps revealing how language is differentially engaged in the discrimination of colored stimuli pr...
Article
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Categorical perception (CP) of color is the faster and more accurate discrimination of two colors from different categories than two colors from the same category, even when same- and different-category chromatic separations are equated. In adults, color CP is lateralized to the left hemisphere (LH), whereas in infants, it is lateralized to the rig...
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Recent work has shown that Whorf effects of language on color discrimination are stronger in the right visual field than in the left. Here we show that this phenomenon is not limited to color: The perception of animal figures (cats and dogs) was more strongly affected by linguistic categories for stimuli presented to the right visual field than tho...
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Well over half a century ago, Benjamin Lee Whorf [Carroll JB (1956) Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA)] proposed that language affects perception and thought and is used to segment nature, a hypothesis that has since been tested by linguistic and behavioral studies. Although clear Whor...
Article
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Both adults and infants are faster at discriminating between two colors from different categories than two colors from the same category, even when between- and within-category chromatic separation sizes are equated. For adults, this categorical perception (CP) is lateralized; the category effect is stronger for the right visual field (RVF)–left he...
Article
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Various revisions of the Berlin and Kay (1969) model of the evolution of basic color term systems have been produced in the last thirty years, motivated by both empirical and theoretical considerations. On the empirical side, new facts about color naming systems have continually come to light, which have demanded adjustments in lhe descriptive mode...
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Proponents of a self-identified 'relativist' view of cross-language color naming have confounded two questions: (1) Is color naming largely subject to local linguistic convention? and (2) Are cross-language color naming differences reflected in comparable differences in color cognition by their speakers? The 'relativist' position holds that the cor...
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The nature of color categories in the world's languages is contested. One major view holds that color categories are organized around universal focal colors, whereas an opposing view holds instead that categories are defined at their boundaries by linguistic convention. Both of these standardly opposed views are challenged by existing data. Here, w...
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The Whorf hypothesis holds that differences between languages induce differences in perception and/or cognition in their speakers. Much of the experimental work pursuing this idea has focused on the domain of color and has centered on the issue of whether linguistically coded color categories influence color discrimination. A new perspective has be...
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The classic issue of color naming and color cognition has been re-examined in a recent series of articles. Here, we review these developments, and suggest that they move the field beyond a familiar rhetoric of 'nature versus nurture', or 'universals versus relativity', to new concepts and new questions.
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The question of whether language affects perception has been debated largely on the basis of cross-language data, without considering the functional organization of the brain. The nature of this neural organization predicts that, if language affects perception, it should do so more in the right visual field than in the left visual field, an idea un...
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The universals and evolution (UE) model in cross-language color naming research, stemming from Berlin and Kay (1969) and most recently embodied in Kay and Maffi (1999) has been criticized on the grounds, among others, (1) that many languages contain words which express both color and non-color properties, (2) that in many languages words which expr...
Article
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Using the data of the World Color Survey, variation in the selection of focal colors both within languages and across languages was studied. The variation within languages was found to be much greater than the variation across languages. For example, for color terms in different languages that roughly translate as English 'red', focus placements we...
Chapter
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The World Color Survey (WCS) is a research project that was undertaken to validate, invalidate, or, most likely, modify the main findings of Berlin and Kay (B&K), which said that there exist universal crosslinguistic constraints on color naming, and that basic color terminology systems tend to develop in a partially fixed order. This chapter review...
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We used hue cancellation and focal naming to compare individual differences in stimuli selected for unique hues (e.g., pure blue or green) and binary hues (e.g., blue-green). Standard models assume that binary hues depend on the component responses of red-green and blue-yellow processes. However, variance was comparable for unique and binary hues,...
Article
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the simulations of steels & belpaeme (s&b) suggest that communication could lead to color categories that are closely shared within a language and potentially diverge across languages. we argue that this is opposite of the patterns that are actually observed in empirical studies of color naming. focal color choices more often exhibit strong concord...
Article
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It is widely held that named color categories in the world's languages are organized around universal focal colors and that these focal colors tend to be chosen as the best examples of color terms across languages. However, this notion has been supported primarily by data from languages of industrialized societies. In contrast, recent research on a...
Article
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Many languages without separate terms for green and blue are or were spoken in locations receiving above-average exposure to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation. It has been proposed that this correlation is caused by premature lens aging. This conclusion was supported by an experiment in which younger observers used the term "blue" less often when they...
Article
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Recent research has questioned the universal basis of color categorization and has instead emphasized cross-linguistic variation in boundaries of color categories. We propose that these cross-linguistically varying boundaries can be predicted from near-universal focal colors within the categories. In support of this proposal, we show that: (1) best...
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Lindsey and Brown (2002) proposed an intriguing explanation for the existence and geographical distribution of languages that lack a dis- tinct word for the color blue. Many such languages include blue in a color term that also encompasses green, yielding a green-or-blue (''grue'') term. Others include blue in a color term that also en- compasses d...
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Uwe Durst (D) is to be commended for a clear exposition of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) theory of Anna Wierzbicka (W) and her associates. In addition to laying out clearly the assumptions of the NSM theory, D states that The. . .NSM model.. . has turned out to be a most useful theoretical and methodological framework for semantic analysi...
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The existence of cross-linguistic universals in color naming is currently contested. Early empirical studies, based principally on languages of industrialized societies, suggested that all languages may draw on a universally shared repertoire of color categories. Recent work, in contrast, based on languages from nonindustrialized societies, has sug...
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Recent, well-controlled studies in cross-language color naming and cross-language tests of color memory and learning have made important contributions to our understanding of which aspects of cross-language color naming and nonverbal response to colors may and may not be attributed to pan-human properties of color appearance. Valuable as these resu...
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We compared the pattern of inter-observer variation in unique hues (red, green, blue, and yellow) and binary hues (orange, purple, blue-green, and yellow-green), to test the relative status of different color categories. Stimuli were moderately-saturated, equiluminant pulses on a gray (30 cd/m2) background and fell along a circle within a threshold...
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English 'dative-movement' or 'ditransitive' phenomena are examined within both a non-monotonic approach to Construction Grammar (CG) influenced by Cognitive Linguistics and a monotonic CG approach. It is argued that the latter gives better empirical coverage and is theoretically simpler. Also an account of the argument/adjunct distinction is develo...
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Introduction. Constructions and Pragmatics What do constructional approaches to grammar have to contribute to linguistic pragmatics? A careful answer to this question would require prior specification of which approaches should properly be called 'constructional' and also what exactly is intended by 'linguistic pragmatics'. Conscientiously discharg...
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A colloquial English sentence like Fooled us, didn't they? contains a finite main verb but no expressed subject. The identity of the missing subject of fooled is recovered from the tag subject they: compare Fooled us, didn't she?, Fooled us, didn't you? This paper argues (1) that such subjectless tagged sentences (STSs) pose a problem for grammatic...
Article
PURPLE (RED-and-BLUE) is the most frequently occurring derived (binary) basic color term (BCT), but there is never a named composite BCT meaning RED-or-BLUE. GREEN-or-BLUE is the most frequently named composite color category, but there is never a BCT for the corresponding derived (binary) category CYAN (BLUE-and-GREEN). Why?
Article
The data provided by Grodzinsky which demonstrate a syntactic comprehension deficit in Broca's patients provide no evidence for the theoretical concepts of movement, trace or 'trace deletion'. The comprehension deficit data can be more economically accounted for with traditional grammatical concepts that are less theory-internal and more empiricall...
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Our goal is to present, by means of the detailed analysis of a single grammatical problem, some of the principal commitments and mechanisms of a grammatical theory that assigns a central role to the notion of GRAMMATICAL CONSTRUCTION. To adopt a constructional approach is to undertake a commitment in principle to account for the entirety of each la...
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Résumé RÉSUMÉ La recherche interlinguistique sur les noms de couleur Quelques considérations méthodologiques Les nombreux travaux, issus de l'étude interlinguistique sur les termes de couleur de Berlin et Kay (1969), dont les plus récents exemples sont Kay et al. (1997) et Kay et Maftï (sous presse), ont été critiqués pour les raisons suivantes: (1...
Book
Ethnoscience studies, and studies of color vocabulary in particular, have firmly established that to understand the full range of meaning of a word in any language, each new language must be approached on its own terms, without a priori theories of semantic universals. It has been shown that color words in fact encode a great deal of non-colorimetr...
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A formal architecture for Construction Grammar (CG) is sketched. Modeling domain objects (constructs) are constituent structures with feature structures at the nodes, aka Feature Structure Trees (FTs). Constructions are partial descriptions of FTs, expressed as sets of constituent structure equations and path equations. Unification of constructions...
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this paper is to introduce, by means of the detailed analysis of a single grammatical problem, the rudiments of a grammatical theory which assigns a central role to the notion of grammatical construction. To adopt a constructional approach is to undertake a commitment in principle to account for the entirety of each language. 2 This means that the...
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