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A Large-Scale Multi-Lingual Color Thesaurus

By Albrecht Lindner, Bryan Zhi Li, Nicolas Bonnier and Sabine Süsstrunk


Distributions of the color name red for ten different languages (in alphabetical order) in the CIELAB ab plane. The left figure shows the colors of the ab plane for better orientation. The distributions indicate for each language to which region in color space the color red is related. We show a 2-dimensional cross section of the 3-dimensional CIELAB distribution at the L value where the distribution is maximal. The black homogeneous areas are out of gamut values. We see that red is slightly darker and less saturated in Italian, Portuguese and Korean with respect to other languages. The corresponding color patches for red and other color names are visualized in Figure 7. We present a color thesaurus with over 9000 color names in ten different languages. Instead of using conventional psychophysical experiments, we use a statistical framework that is based on search results from Google Image Search. For each color name we compute a significance distribution in CIELAB space whose maximum indicates the location of the color name in CIELAB. A first analysis discusses the quality of the estimations in the context of human language. Further, we conduct an advanced analysis supporting our choice to use a statistical method. Finally, we demonstrate that a color name mainly depends on the chromatic values and varies more along the lightness axis

Year: 2013
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