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  • Ethnosemantics, sometimes called “ethnoscience,” is the scientific study of the ways in which people label and classify the social, cultural, and environmental phenomena of their world. Beginning in the 1960s, ethnosemantics continued the Boasian tradition of focusing on linguistic relativity and the importance of native language terms, with a focus on developing theories of particular cultures, rather than an over-arching theory of culture in general. Nevertheless, ethnosemantic studies have contributed to the latter by making it possible to find universal constraints on the ways in which humans deal linguistically with their environments.

    One of the best examples of this is the terminology people use for naming colors. Studies have shown that while color-naming systems vary, the different systems can be organized into an implicational scale. All ...

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