Re: Debate opens anew on language and its effect on cognition

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Wed Feb 20 2002 - 15:09:42 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: Debate opens anew on language and its effect on cognition
    Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 07:09:42 -0800
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    >Subject: Re: Debate opens anew on language and its effect on cognition
    >Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 01:01:42 -0500
    >On Tuesday, February 19, 2002, at 10:39 , Grant Callaghan wrote:
    >>The color yellow, for instance, does not imply cowardice in Chinese as
    >>it does in English. But it does have connotations of sex, just as it
    >>does for us.
    >I remember a film called 'I am curious, yellow', but I didn't see it,
    >and I never did know why 'yellow'. So, why? I don't think it's a usanian
    >connotation, at least it's not one I've ever encountered. In fact, I'm
    >hard pressed to find _any_ color that has a direct sexual connotation,
    >with the possible exception of red, as in 'red-light district'.
    >Interestingly, there is a new musical theatre piece called 'Contact',
    >which has a strongly sexual episode with a character known only as the
    >'Girl in the Yellow Dress'. I've read some reviews, but nothing I've
    >read ever remarked upon any direct connotative device being utilized,
    >only that the dress' color contrasts vividly with the rest of the
    >characters' outfits and the stage setting itself.
    >So, what and why yellow? Or, has it happened that yet another facet of
    >sex passed me by?
    >- Wade
    I think "I am Curious Yellow" was an Ingmar Bergman film and was a foreign
    film in the U.S. In Chinese, "yellow journalism" is pornography. But all
    of these associations are historical rather than inherent. In the Far East,
    white signifies death because that's the color mourners wear at funerals.
    There is seldom a fourth floor in a building over there because in most
    cultures the word four sounds just like "die" or "death." Why do we skip
    the 13th floor? What does it signify? Why is Friday the 13th any worse
    than Thrusday the 12th? It's all historical accident as far as I can tell.
    Strange memes give substance to figments of our imagination and the stories
    we tell shape our culture.


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