Re:virus: Colours (splitting the spectrum)

joe dees (
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 23:45:42 -0400

At Mon, 19 Apr 1999 14:15:01 +0200, you wrote:
>I think an interesting side-note is the way different = cultures split
>the spectrum in their languages. Words for colour = aren't always readily
>translated between languages. For instance, in = Gaelic, the word "gorm"
>means "blue-green, azure" which is meant = just as specific as the english
>"green". The concept just isn't = "centered" on the same spot in the spectrum.
>"Liath" means "lightblue-gray", = but not totally grey, which is "glas".
>"Ruadh" means "reddish brown", = which is considered a colour in itself.
>means "red", but only the light red or = orange part of what english-speaking
>people usually mean by "red". I could go = on, but I think you get the point.
>Excuses for bad translation to possible native = speakers of G=E0idhlig
>among the
>readers of this list. Tha mi aig m'ionnsach=E0dh, = ach tha m'Gh=E0idlig
>gl=E8 bheag.
>I also read somewhere that certain jungle-living = people may have ten or more
>distinct "green" colors that they readily = distinguish between and
>consider quite
>different, while we = probably would call them all "green" and be
>unable to at = all
>see the difference between some of them.
>But nevertheless, most western languages mean the = same thing by their
>Swedish and english, for instance, seem to center = around about the same
>areas of
>the spectrum. It would be interesting if anyone had = any information on:
>When the "western" languages first started = to conform in this way, or if all
>initially were similar and some started to differ, = when that happened and
>why. Were
>there larger differences in medieval times, for = instance?
>Do other (asian, african, polynesian) language groups = conform or differ
>in this
>Is there any proof for some built-in preference in = our brains to make
>between separate colours at specific (as it seems, = rather arbitrary)
>Any cognitive linguists out there?
>-Andreas Engstr=F6m
>(Great Randomness)

There is a commonality underlying this disparity; however cultures divide up the color wheel, the sum of their terms must cover it all, just as, into however many tones cultures may divide the octave, the octave is a concept in all scales. Joe E. Dees
Poet, Pagan, Philosopher

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