I am writing a term paper about the role of adjectives and gender marking in efficient communication about English and German respectively. And I was wondering if there is any way/website/tool to compare the frequency of use of color words in both languages? Like, maybe English uses color words more frequently because it relies more on adjectives to predict nouns than German which rather relies on gender marking.

  • This may sound silly, but could you take a corpus and count them?
    – Keelan
    Aug 15 '21 at 20:35
  • What do you mean by “predict nouns”? Aug 16 '21 at 3:23
  • @Keelan, I am more of a psycho/neurolinguist and don't know much about corpus work. That's why I asmed because I thought maybe there was an easy way or already a paper concering this (I didn't find any).
    – Fee Arnold
    Aug 16 '21 at 5:25
  • @Anton Sherwood The theory is from Dye et al., 2017 'Alternative Solutions to a Language Design Problem: The role of Adjectives and Gender Marking in Efficient Communication', if you're interested. Roughly it says that because German has a three-class gender system its determiners restrict and in that sense help predict which noun can grammatically follow the determiner, the dame with adjecrives in English.
    – Fee Arnold
    Aug 16 '21 at 5:30

For frequency information on German, I highly recommend the Leipzig Wortschatz portal (here already querying for rot "red". It is based on contemporary newspaper texts and also has corpora for many other languages, including English.

  • I will try that! I think I'll take maybe 10 'common' colors that of both languages and compare their frequency with the corpora they used in the Dye et al. paper I mentioned in a commemt above. This should at least give me a hint. Thankfully, German and English aren't that far apart geographically etc.
    – Fee Arnold
    Aug 16 '21 at 5:34

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