Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - traffic light colors question

traffic light colors question

Post questions and answers about living or visiting Japan or the culture

traffic light colors question

Postby crowfeather » Fri 03.17.2006 9:29 pm

Tonight I am studying the colors in the vocabulary section on this site.
Clay said in a side note that the colors of the traffic lights in Japan are red, yellow and "blue."
Does red mean stop, yellow mean caution and blue mean proceed?
Thanks,
Barbara
Last edited by crowfeather on Fri 03.17.2006 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
crowfeather
 
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu 02.16.2006 12:17 pm

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby keatonatron » Fri 03.17.2006 10:24 pm

The colors are actually red, yellow and green just like in the States (and the rules are the same). However, in Japanese you call the green light blue.
User avatar
keatonatron
 
Posts: 4838
Joined: Sat 02.04.2006 3:31 am
Location: Tokyo (Via Seattle)
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby coco » Sat 04.08.2006 6:01 pm

Following Japanese text has been translated by Pipin-san. Please read Pipin-san's message.Thanks.
----------------------
このスレッドは何名かの方が参加して、「なぜ緑を青と呼ぶか」という話題になり、「日本語の青は緑をも指し示す」という正しい指摘も出ていました。私もそれに、警察のサイトをリンクし、その質問に対する公式見解の内容を掲示しました。最初は日本語で書き、その約2〜3日後に英語のようなものに直しました。残念なことに(みなさんの)多くの投稿はHDのクラッシュで消えてしまいました。もしcrowfeatherさんがその内容をご覧になっていたら、なぜ緑が青と呼ばれるのか、という疑問もく解決できただろうと思いますが、お読みになりましたでしょうか?
非常に興味深い内容でしたので、もしまだ該当内容をご覧になっていない、かつご興味がある場合には、再度、お答えしたいと思います。
------------------------

Kotori-san
Could you please show the URL of that PDF (about color "cognition"(?)) again, if you don't mind? 

修正:「みなさんの」を入れました。日本語と英語阜サでは、厳密に阜サする箇所が異なるんですね。おもしろい。
pipin丁寧な英語にしてくださってありがとう。
:)
Last edited by coco on Sat 04.15.2006 6:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
coco
 
Posts: 3061
Joined: Mon 05.30.2005 12:43 am
Location: 東京都
Native language: 日本語(Japanese)

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby kanadajin » Sat 04.08.2006 6:22 pm

aww man.. All the posts got deleted, this thread was interesting..:( Last time i checked it, the only post i remember was about asking Japanese people why they call the green light blue, and all the different answers you get. I don't remember the author of that post. But it was kinda funny lol.. So does any one know WHY they do that? Maybe some history or something:D
User avatar
kanadajin
 
Posts: 1528
Joined: Wed 05.04.2005 7:04 pm

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby kotori » Sat 04.08.2006 8:26 pm

kotori
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed 04.05.2006 10:46 am

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby coco » Sun 04.09.2006 1:12 am

Thank you Kotori-san. I can't figure out that but I can see the images.:) It seems you lost all your messages from registered date til 4th April, sorry about that. An official answer of Japanese traffic light's color will be soon translated.
Last edited by coco on Sun 04.09.2006 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
coco
 
Posts: 3061
Joined: Mon 05.30.2005 12:43 am
Location: 東京都
Native language: 日本語(Japanese)

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby pipin » Sun 04.09.2006 1:58 am

I try to translate what coco-san said above:

--------------------------
"Why do Japanese say "blue" not "green" when they see obvious green color"?" -- this is the main subject of this thread. As you know, some members here talked about this question before. I, coco, also posted about a URL of the police and tried to show the official answer about our question. At first, I wrote it in Japanese, and then translated it into English after a couple of days. Unfortunately most of my past posts were deleted by the accident of the HDD crash. I hope crowfeather-san read my post and was satisfied with the explanation. But if you haven't yet and if you are still interested in it, please let me know. I'm glad to answer it once again. Thank you.
---------------------------

...Well, if anyone find any error in my English, please correct them. Thanks in advance!

-pipin

P.S. Thanks coco for giving me the good chance to write English:)
Last edited by pipin on Sun 04.09.2006 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
pipin
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed 04.05.2006 7:03 am

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby kotori » Sun 04.09.2006 7:22 pm

coco wrote:
It seems you lost all your messages from registered date til 4th April, sorry about that.


Yes... after the crash I wasn't even registered anymore and had to re-register.. :(

The PDF is hard for even me to understand, because it uses a lot of scientific words.

I can try to make a summary.... I hope it's not too bad. :)

=======
Apparently, there's a very regular order that colors get names in different languages, and this study wanted to find out why that special order happens. So they focused on green and blue, because some languages mush them into the same word, and some languages separate them.

This study tries to see if the effect of UV-B light from the sun makes people's eyes different. Over time, the lens of the eye ages differently in different regions, and turns a little yellowish/orangeish.

The study showed that through an aged lens, the ability to distinguish blue from green decreased, so it supports their theory. As to why it continues even if many people from one culture can tell the difference....

For two people to talk to each other, you have to use words that both people know. So even if a large portion of people can see 'blue' they can't use the word 'blue' with people who can't see it.

So... the result is... in the early stages of some languages, they physically saw blue and green as one color, and gave it one name. As time went on, even though many people could see blue AND green, they couldn't -talk- about it with many people (because they only had one word).
===========

How it relates to Japanese... I guess would be like this:

Japanese has a word for both blue AND green, but that was something that happened 'late'. So the old color that was used for both blue AND green gets applied to a lot of things just out of traditional usage.

That's my opinion. :P
kotori
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed 04.05.2006 10:46 am

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby coco » Sun 04.09.2006 8:14 pm

Kotori-san,
Thanks for great summary!
an aged lens, the ability to distinguish blue from green decreased.

↑ that's it!! Japan has a record of average length of life as you know. :D

Joking aside, your opinion covers almost of the answer. However I bet you will enjoy more when you see official comments of Japanese police department.
そしてkotori-sanの日本語力は私の英語力より上であると推測しています。。。;)
Last edited by coco on Mon 04.10.2006 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
coco
 
Posts: 3061
Joined: Mon 05.30.2005 12:43 am
Location: 東京都
Native language: 日本語(Japanese)

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby richvh » Sun 04.09.2006 8:44 pm

pipin wrote:
I try to translate what coco-san said above:

--------------------------
"Why do Japanese say "blue" not "green" when they see obvious green color"?" -- this is the main subject of this thread. As you know, some members here talked about this question before. I, coco, also posted about a URL of the police and tried to show the official answer about our question. At first, I wrote it in Japanese, and then translated it into English after a couple of days. Unfortunately most of my past posts were deleted by the accident of the HDD crash. I hope crowfeather-san read my post and was satisfied with the explanation. But if you haven't yet and if you are still interested in it, please let me know. I'm glad to answer it once again. Thank you.
---------------------------

...Well, if anyone find any error in my English, please correct them. Thanks in advance!

-pipin

P.S. Thanks coco for giving me the good chance to write English:)

Well, since you asked so nicely...

"I will try to translate what coco-san has said above.

----------------------
"'Why do Japanese say "blue" instead of "green" when they see a color that is obviously green?' - this is the topic of this thread. As you know, some members here have asked this question before. Also, I (coco) have posted a link to a police site that attempts to give an official answer to this question. At first, I wrote it in Japanese, then translated it into English after a few days. Unfortunately, most of my posts on the subject were lost during the hard drive crash. I hope that crowfeather-san read my posts and was satisfied with the explanation. But if you didn't, and you are still interested, please let me know. I will be glad to answer it again. Thank you.'
---------------

"...Well, if anyone finds any errors in my English, please correct them. Thanks in advance!"
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語
richvh
 
Posts: 6451
Joined: Thu 09.29.2005 10:35 pm

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby kotori » Mon 04.10.2006 1:24 am

coco wrote:
そしてkotori-sanの日本語力は私の英語力より上であると推測しています。。。;)


いいえ・・・ 私の日本語力がまだ上手じゃないです。
I just read... a lot. And I think about unusual things far more than is good for me, in my opinion. I'm thinking of going to school for linguistics, so I was very interested in giving my opinion here, even if it might be wrong. (^.^;;
kotori
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed 04.05.2006 10:46 am

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby Frumious Boojum » Mon 04.10.2006 9:37 am

The other day in class, we had a discussion that made me think back to this thread. The word for baby, akachan (literally, little red), came up in our dialogues and we got into a discussion of the useage of other things that use red for the word, whether the thing is red or not:

akadenwa - Payphone
akachouchin - bar (literally, red lantern)
akasen - prostitution (literally, red money)
akaten - failing grade

So, besides some of those examples and the traffic lights, what other things are referred to by colours or different colours than what they really are?
Frumious Boojum
 
Posts: 229
Joined: Wed 01.25.2006 11:23 pm

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby Oracle » Mon 04.10.2006 10:23 am

Frumious Boojum wrote:
So, besides some of those examples and the traffic lights, what other things are referred to by colours or different colours than what they really are?


赤の他人 (あかのたにん "red stranger") = a complete/total stranger

黒山の人だかり (くろやまのひとだかり "black mountain of people") = a huge crowd of people (because all Japanese people - used to :) - have black hair)

黄色声 (きいいろこえ "yellow voice") = a high pitched voice
Last edited by Oracle on Mon 04.10.2006 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Oracle
 
Posts: 537
Joined: Mon 02.13.2006 9:03 am
Native language: English

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby AJBryant » Mon 04.10.2006 10:29 am

akadenwa - Payphone


Actually, I'm pretty sure no one uses this anymore. I don't think I heard it once when I was there from 86-92. The reason is simple -- payphones aren't color-coded anymore; almost all the public phones are a kind of bilious green and take prepaid phonecards.

Tony
(an akachochin lover)
Last edited by AJBryant on Mon 04.10.2006 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
AJBryant
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5313
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 11:29 am
Location: Indiana
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: traffic light colors question

Postby pipin » Mon 04.10.2006 12:11 pm

richvh wrote:
pipin wrote:

...Well, if anyone find any error in my English, please correct them. Thanks in advance!

Well, since you asked so nicely...

"I will try to translate what coco-san has said above.


Hi Richard,

Thank you so much for correcting my mistakes in my English sentences:) It was so helpful. Thank you again!

-pipin
Last edited by pipin on Mon 04.10.2006 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
pipin
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed 04.05.2006 7:03 am

Next

Return to Culture and Info about living in Japan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests