The aim of the article is to analyze the conceptualization of the colour orange in Ukrainian by establishing the prototypical referent of 'pomaranchevyi' (orange) and the process of the emergence of the word's symbolic meaning. The direct inspiration for the study was the political upheaval in Ukraine in November-December 2004, called 'the orange revolution'. The analysis is based on the data from dictionaries, the Internet and an associative experiment conducted with the participants of the demonstrations in Lviv (Lvov), Kyiv (Kiev) and Kharkiv (Kharkov). If until the end of 2004 the centre of the category of 'orange' terms in Ukrainian included the words 'zhovtogaryachyi' and 'oranzhevyi', at the beginning of 2005 the terms were relegated to the category's peripheries and gave way to a new nomination: the adjective 'pomaranchevyi', used attributively (e.g. 'orange demonstrations') and as the subject (e.g. 'the orange (i.e. the orange people) celebrate'). The results of the associative experiment show that the prototypical referent for the category is the orange (the fruit). At the same time, as a result of the political changes a new nominal unit, 'pomarancheva revolutsiya' (orange revolution), came into being, the symbolic meaning of 'pomaranchevyi' acquiring ambivalent valuation: positive for the participants of the demonstrations and negative for the opponents of the changes, especially from Kharkiv. These phenomena corroborate Anna Wierzbicka's claim that the meanings of colour terms, the latter being cultural artifacts, may easily undergo changes, in this case as a result of a political involvement of a colour.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.