Color terms

Lee Poulsen
Sat, 18 Sep 2004 22:20:10 PDT
>> Color and language, both, fascinate me.
> **Same here.

Me, too!

Thanks Jane for bringing this up. And I totally agree that, even though 
I've loved colors and color-ology since I was a kid, mauve was one of 
the hardest color terms for me to get a grasp of. I'm still not sure 
I've got it, and what I think of most often as mauve isn't a very 
attractive color to me anyway, so I always wonder why anyone would use 
the term that often. Also, growing up bilingual (English and Spanish) 
and then during my college years spending a couple of years living in 
Japan, I've always also had a great interest in the similarities and 
differences between the everyday usage of the words in different 
languages. As Jane mentioned, it was a little difficult to get used to 
everything that was blue or green or in between being called blue in 
Japan (especially traffic lights!). However, they do have a word for 
green, but it tends to only be used for things that are what I would 
call a bright kelly green. I've never seen an actual set of RHS color 
charts. (I hear they are very expensive.) However, I did grow up with 
the 64-crayon box of Crayola crayons and the names they used have 
heavily influenced my English usage of color names. (Although for some 
reason they were fairly weak in the teal/cyan part of the color wheel. 
I had to learn about that when personal computers (with color monitors) 
and especially color printers came into common usage.)

Jane, I could fairly easily find you about ten people each from Mexico, 
Argentina/Chile/Peru, and Japan to come up with what words they use to 
refer to various different colors if you can come up with either 
printouts or things of a constant color they all could find or know of 
in each of those places.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 9-10

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