Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Communication and Arts


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Ina Malcolm


The Japanese language has a colour term, 'ao' (or 'aoi'), which is usually referred to in bilingual dictionaries as being the equivalent of English 'blue'. Very often, however, it is used to describe things which English speakers would describe as being green. Granny Smith apples are 'ao', so are all Westerners' eyes, regardless of whether they would be described as being 'blue' or 'green' in English. The sky and the sea are prototypically 'ao', but this term is also used to describe lawns, forests, traffic lights and unripe tomatoes. What, then, do Japanese native speakers (henceforth JNS) understand by this term? How do its semantic boundaries relate to those of the term 'midori' (`green')? What is the JNS understanding of the foreign loan words 'guriin' (green) and 'buruu' (blue)? This study pursues these questions seeking to delineate the semantic boundaries of the colour term 'ao'.