Intercultural differences in language from the lens of colour related expressions

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


A comparison between Chinese and English shows that differences in language usage can arise from cultural differences. The use of colour is a prime example. With colour being an objective phenomenon, the basic meaning of colour does not differ in the two languages. However, the same colour can carry different meanings and nuances at deeper levels of language use due to different historic backgrounds and traditions. Studying the rich contents of colour associated expressions helps facilitate understanding of intercultural differences. In this talk, the literature on comparative study of colour associated language will first be reviewed. Then the historical developments of colour associated expressions in both languages and cultures will be explored. The final part compares the contemporary use of colours in English and Chinese. The talk will also touch upon application of the Berlin and Kay Theory and the Barry McLaughlin Theory in this research field.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


language usage
historical development
field research
cultural difference


Lai, P. (2015, July). Intercultural differences in language from the lens of colour related expressions. Paper presented at the lecture: Green luck? Red luck?, The University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


  • 對外漢語教學之:中英色彩文化與語義對比