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Colour Question...

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RE: Colour Question...

Postby faan-san » Mon 11.28.2005 12:09 am

Harisenbon wrote:
Going on a little more on the color theory,
I was under the impression that Orange was a loan word from Sanskrit. That's why nothing rhymes with orange. That's of course just something that I heard from a number of people, and have no way to back up, BUT...
If orange is a loan word, how can it be one of the basic colors of english?
Also, shouldn't basic english color words all be Germanic in origin? Blue, I thought, comes from bleu (French).

Or am I just completely off my rocker. :/


The German word for orange is orange. lol. Just thought I'd add that.
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RE: Colour Question...

Postby zengargoyle » Mon 11.28.2005 12:29 am

「linguistics」は下手の横好きですよ。it's been 12 years or so since i've read any detailed books on the subject, but i still tend to follow any links on the subject that come across my path. so to further derail this thread:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php
blue
c.1300, bleu, blwe, etc., from O.Fr. bleu, from Frank. blao, from P.Gmc. *blæwaz, from PIE base *bhle-was "light-colored, blue, blond, yellow." "The exact color to which the Gmc. term applies varies in the older dialects; M.H.G. bla is also "yellow," whereas the Scandinavian words may refer esp. to a deep, swarthy black, e.g. O.N. blamaðr, N.Icel. blamaður 'Negro' " [Buck]. Replaced O.E. blaw, from the same PIE root, which also yielded L. flavus "yellow," O.Sp. blavo "yellowish-gray," Gk. phalos "white," Welsh blawr "gray," O.N. bla "livid" (the meaning in black and blue), showing the usual slippery definition of color words in I.E. The present spelling is since 16c., from Fr. influence. The color of constancy since Chaucer at least, but apparently for no deeper reason than the rhyme in true blue (1500).

orange
c.1300, from O.Fr. orenge (12c.), from M.L. pomum de orenge, from It. arancia, originally narancia (Venetian naranza), alt. of Ar. naranj, from Pers. narang, from Skt. naranga-s "orange tree," of uncertain origin. Loss of initial n- probably due to confusion with definite article (e.g. une narange, una narancia), but perhaps infl. by Fr. or "gold."


A Brief History of English, with Chronology

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RE: Colour Question...

Postby Infidel » Mon 11.28.2005 12:37 am

mandolin wrote:
I think it'd do you a bit of good to research something before making wild guesses based on conjecture..


This made me laugh.
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RE: Colour Question...

Postby mandolin » Mon 11.28.2005 1:14 am

ishnar wrote:
mandolin wrote:
I think it'd do you a bit of good to research something before making wild guesses based on conjecture..


This made me laugh.


I'm glad I could amuse you. Although, when I make guesses, I state them as guesses and hope for correction, I don't ridicule others with baseless ideas and call them fact.

That's call flaming, and I think this board has seen a bit too much of it lately.
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RE: Colour Question...

Postby faan-san » Mon 11.28.2005 2:50 am

faan-san wrote:
Harisenbon wrote:
Going on a little more on the color theory,
I was under the impression that Orange was a loan word from Sanskrit. That's why nothing rhymes with orange. That's of course just something that I heard from a number of people, and have no way to back up, BUT...
If orange is a loan word, how can it be one of the basic colors of english?
Also, shouldn't basic english color words all be Germanic in origin? Blue, I thought, comes from bleu (French).

Or am I just completely off my rocker. :/


The German word for orange is orange. lol. Just thought I'd add that.


Ha! I remember what I forgot to write originally. I think the English 'blue' is Germanic, coming from its word 'blau'. Which, like Harisen-san has stated, was probably stolen by the Germans from the French 'bleu'. So, the English word 'blue' is most likely Germanic in origin. The Germans tend to steal words from French and assimilate them for their own use. Nowadays, they take words from us, but it used to be primarily French.
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RE: Colour Question...

Postby Infidel » Mon 11.28.2005 6:56 am

mandolin wrote:
ishnar wrote:
mandolin wrote:
I think it'd do you a bit of good to research something before making wild guesses based on conjecture..


This made me laugh.


I'm glad I could amuse you. Although, when I make guesses, I state them as guesses and hope for correction, I don't ridicule others with baseless ideas and call them fact.

That's call flaming, and I think this board has seen a bit too much of it lately.


Actually, you completely misunderstood Tony. And misquoted someone.

Linguists don't say that Ancient Japanese had only 4 colors, they say that Ancienc Japanese had only 4 true colors.

Linguistics is often just a lot of educated guesses. Tony was just pointing out that in this case that's all they are. Tony wouldn't have refered to Nara or Heian fashon or dye references is he hadn't seen them.

He just said that there was no writing system for ancient Japan so anything a Linguisist says is conjecture. Even if there were a writing system, the pronunciation changes over time and varies even in current times.

Linguists have done a bang up job of forensically unearthing language roots but languages are constantly changing. It could well be that Ancient Japanese had over 60 true colors but they fell out of use before writing was developed. We just don't know. It could also be that even the true colors used to refer to an object just as haiiro and chairo do now. Again, too much has changed to be certian. There are lots of possible explanations.

Linguistics are probably mostly right. But not completely right. There is just no way to be sure.
Last edited by Infidel on Mon 11.28.2005 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Colour Question...

Postby AJBryant » Mon 11.28.2005 1:27 pm

I think it'd do you a bit of good to research something before making wild guesses based on conjecture.


OOoooooh, dude.... You know not of what you speak. This happens to be a major area of my research. Have you got (and have you read?) the definitive book on how Japanese look at and regard color, the "Nihon no Iro Jiten" by Yoshioka? It goes into incredible detail on the dyeing and patterns and shades produced. In addition to the metric buttload of "koki (this)" and "usuki (that)" (corresponding to "dark (blah)" and "pale (blah)" in English) are a pile of other color terms as distinctive as "taupe" and "chartreuse" are in English. Most of the Nara and Heian terms were taken from flower or plants -- sometimes the plant that provided the dye, sometimes from the plant that resembles the color.

Interesting point. In old Japanese, despite our common "Japanese can't tell blue from green", if you actually look at historical models, the color called "aoi" was green. When you use the historical dyestuffs they used to make things described as "aoi" you get a deep green.

Deep blue was "ai" (indigo). A paler to more mid range blue was "haneda".

When did these terms come about? Who knows? But they were in full usage by the 800s.

The point is, you can't make blanket statements without evidence to back them up. Linguists notwithstanding. For the record, I have studied some linguistics as well. (You know that old saw about dozens of words in Inuit for snow? It's false -- but it sounds good, doesni't it?).

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RE: Colour Question...

Postby mandolin » Mon 11.28.2005 4:12 pm

So, you have to back up a language issue without linguistics?

...

I can't.

In 110 languages, all in varying stages of development, (some which -still- only have dark/light) they have shown the same development of color words, at least for the first six or so, after that which colors that become named starts to slip around in their order somewhat.

There isn't any reason to think that Japan is different from the rest.

Keep in mind the reason for this entire (off-) topic, which boils down to "Why are some color words treated differently than other color words"?

Color typology seems to support a very solid reason for this phenomenon. Claiming the linguistic studies to be completely wrong without providing some other reason for seemingly random treatment of color words makes me doubt the naysayer, and lends even more weight to the studies already out there.

Ending up in linguistic and grammatical websites as a result of some of the questions brought up in this forum has been a fantastic ride of discovery for me; I am someone who enjoys learning new and interesting (even if ultimately useless) things.

I like my learning to be supplimented from multiple sources, and as such I can find many independent research studies on color words that all point to the same conclusion, but no evidence that Japan would somehow be an exception beyond the fact that the Heian period had many colors of dyes.

If you have further reading material for me, by all means, link it, because I would devour it like a starving lion -- then probably kiss your toes in thanks... metaphorically speaking, of course. ^.^

This has been one of the more intriguing reports I've read, as it takes a different approach to the entire issue, but still comes out with the same conclusion.
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