Blue–green distinction in language  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Many languages do not distinguish between what in English are described as "blue" and "green" and instead use a cover term spanning both. To describe this English lexical gap, linguists use the portmanteau word grue, from green and blue, which the philosopher Nelson Goodman coined in his 1955 Fact, Fiction, and Forecast to illustrate the "new riddle of induction".

The exact definition of "blue" and "green" may be complicated by the speakers not primarily distinguishing the hue, but using terms that describe other color components such as saturation and luminosity, or other properties of the object being described. For example, "blue" and "green" might be distinguished, but a single term might be used for both if the color is dark. Furthermore, green might be associated with yellow, and blue with black or gray.

According to Brent Berlin and Paul Kay's 1969 study Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution, distinct terms for brown, purple, pink, orange and grey will not emerge in a language until the language has made a distinction between green and blue. In their account of the development of color terms the first terms to emerge are those for white/black (or light/dark), red and green/yellow.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Blue–green distinction in language" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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