October 12, 2005

Colors

So I remember in art class way back in grade school, that there are three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow that we use to get all other colors. I also found out one way or another that if you add some white to the blue, you get light blue, and if you add some white to yellow, you get light yellow, and finally if you add white to red, you get....pink!? Why does the white + red combination of light red get its own name? Why doesn't light blue get it's own color name? Oh sure, there are a boatload of names for different shades of blue and yellow, but none of them are as common as pink, and there is no single, universal name for light blue or light yellow that I know of. Why is light red so important that it gets its own name? If this was decided by some ancient doctrine of colorness, then, by all means keep doing what it says. But if it's completely arbitrary, then I think we need to get some color experts together to come up with some new names for light blue and light yellow. The least we can do is to extend the courtesy to those colors after years of tint-name abuse. After all, we don't need some kind of blue and yellow rebellion taking place.

Everything would be covered in Michigan colors. And that just won't do, no sir

Posted by chupathingy on October,12, 2005 at 4:07 PM | Comments (3)

It would actually be very interesting to look into that. Think about how the color pink is treated in our society. It's just a friggin color yet I refuse to wear a pink shirt and some collar poppin douche will demand one these days. What's up with that?


Comment by: Dan at 12:47 PM, October, 13, 2005


Whoa there big fella, I was focusing on the language of color, not it's societal implications. Although that is a pretty interesting topic.

Oh yeah, from Wikipeida: "'Pink' was not a color word known to Shakespeare: it was invented in the 17th century to describe the light red flowers of pinks, flowering plants in the genus Dianthus, possibly named from the 'pinked' edges of their petals appearing to have been cut with pinking shears."

Get the experts together. 17th century ain't ancient enough for me...that and it would be a fun process to watch.


Comment by: Neil at 4:05 PM, October, 13, 2005


Linguistically it kinda makes sense apparently. All languages have 2-12 terms for basic colors, and tend to build their terms similarly. English has 11 basic terms: Black, white, red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, brown, pink, grey. All languages have black and white. Languages with 3 words have red, more than three add blue, yellow, and sometimes green, and the others are the last added. So maybe since a language is most likely to have a red term, that light red is the first to get it's own name.

I should also point out that languages with 12, like russian, have a light blue term.


Comment by: mallio at 7:43 PM, October, 30, 2005