The blog Empirical Zeal digs into the question of how cultures have arrived at their mental maps of color names.
"The picture that’s emerging is that colors aren’t quite random slices of the visual pie. They’re somewhat basic categories that humans from different cultures gravitate towards, and must have to do with how the biology of how we see the world. In other words, rainbows have seams. We can distill a rainbow into its basic visual ingredients, and a handful of colors come out."The Crayola-fication of the World.