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Sara Petrollino, University Lecturer at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, is the guest speaker at this Online ACLC seminar. She will talk about 'The Hamar cattle model: implications for visual semantics and color categorization'.

Event details of ACLC Seminar | Sara Petrollino (Leiden University) - Online
Date 17 September 2021
Time 16:15 -17:30


The Hamar cattle model: implications for visual semantics and color categorization


Pastoral cultures, together with other non-Western cultures, are often mentioned as having visual systems that challenge the universalist claims on color cognition proposed by the Berlin-Kay paradigm: the visual systems of pastoral cultures are modelled on the ‘cattle model’ for the conceptualization and linguistic expression of appearance. This can be seen in the specialized vocabularies for the description and categorization of livestock appearance which have been object of discussion in the ethnographic and anthropological literature. Whereas the cultural relevance of pastoralists’ visual systems has been thoroughly studied, the visual semantics and the linguistic encoding of visual qualities in pastoral cultures have not received much attention to date. In this seminar I will present the results of a study conducted among the Hamar of South-West Ethiopia; the investigation of the visual semantics of livestock appearance among the Hamar was carried out with dedicated methods, tasks, and visual stimuli which will also be discussed to illustrate their effectiveness in revealing important aspects of cattle-centered meanings.

The results of this investigation show that pastoralists communicate and conceptualize all kinds of visual experience in terms of cattle appearance, and the cattle model has several implications for color categorization and the universal saliency of chromatic qualities.

About the ACLC seminar series

The ACLC seminar series is a two weekly lecture series organized by the ACLC, research school for linguistics of the Faculty of Humanities.