May 22, 2020
Color words

On a random wander through the printed museum otherwise known as The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher, I found this interesting clip about color words:

Names for colors enter language slowly. The ancient Greeks had no word for blue and even in the Middle Ages there was still no English word for orange ...

Today, although we can differentiate millions of shades, our vocabulary still only has about thirty color words ...

Color words are acquired by cultures in a strict sequence according to anthropologists who analysed 98 widely differing languages.

All languages have black and white.

If there are three words, the third is red.

If there are four, then, it is green and yellow.

If five, then, whichever didn't make four, yellow or green.

If six, it is blue.

If seven, it is brown.

If eight or more, then purple, pink, orange and grey are added in any order.

©2020 Chi Nguyen