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Moten's way of naming colours

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Saturday, May 22, 1999, 9:12
        Well, as I said, here is the way we name colours in Moten.

        Colours in Moten have no name by themselves. There is only the word 'va':
colour, which can be used in compounds to name colours, after the colour of
some known objects.

        For instance, with 'eme': sun, 'kun': end and '|zaj' /dzaj/: start, we can
make the words: '|zajeme': rising sun, 'kuneme': falling sun, and the
colours 'emeva': yellow, 'tzajemeva': orange and 'kunemeva': red. With
'bo': sky, you make 'bova': sky blue. Some derivations are very weird, like
'motenva' ("the colour of Moten"?): purple or 'ude|lava' /udelyava/: indigo
from 'ude|la': humble, humility, other use affixes in an old fashion, like
'meva': black ('me-' is a prefix meaning "no", but it is never used
directly with words, it can be prefixed normally only to 'mik': who? -
'nemik': nobody -, 'mut': what? - 'nemut': nothing - or 'mun': what?,
which? - 'nemun': no -, but there seems to be some evidence showing that in
a former stage of the language, it could be used directly with words,
meaning of course "no"), 'nuva': white (from 'nu-': each, all, which is a
prefix exactly like 'me-').

        In this kind of system, there are no 'primary colours' and 'derivated
colours' like in English blue -> sky blue, or blue -> dark blue. In fact,
there is no way to say simply "blue" in Moten, as simple words for blue are
'bova': sky blue, 'dodva': dark blue ("night colour") and 'voneva': green
blue ("water colour"). On the other hand, green is simply 'du|nava'
/dunyava/: the colour of life.

        Also, don't forget that the translations I give are only rough (except for
"white", "black" and the "blue" colours). For example, 'emeva' refers to a
yellow colour which is clearer than the one we generally think as "yellow".
'kunemeva' is more red-orangish than red. '|zajemeva' is between orange and
yellow. 'du|nava' is clearer than the colour of the grass. 'motenva' is a
very bright purple. On the other hand, very descriptive colours, like
'najava': pink ("colour of the rose"), or 'adva': red (hair) ("fire
colour") are just like we think of them.

        Well, as usual, what do you think of it? And do you fellow conlangers have
such systems to name colours?

                                                        Christophe Grandsire
                                                |Sela Jemufan Atlinan C.G.

"Reality is just another point of view."

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