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English colour verbs (was: Adjectives, Adverbs, Ad...)

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 16, 2004, 19:24
John Cowan wrote at 2004-03-16 07:28:31 (-0500)
 > Philippe Caquant scripsit:
 > > In French, [stative color] verbs don't exist, AFAIK. There are
 > > verbs meaning "to become red" (rougir), or blue (bleuir), or
 > > green (verdir) etc.
 > In English this is lexically determined: redden, whiten, blacken;
 > green, yellow, purple (no suffix); but blue and brown cannot form
 > causative forms at all.

Mmmm, I don't agree with all of this.  "To blue" is to my knowledge only
found as a technical term in metalworking, but I think "to brown" has
more general applicability;  it's principally used in the kitchen, but
I find it acceptable for e.g. the action of the sun on skin.  By
contrast, I'm not sure I can think of an example where I'd find "to
purple" natural.

It's interesting that these all seem to have fairly restricted
semantic ranges.  For one thing, they all have a connotation of
incomplete effect...  "I painted the wall red" vs "I reddened the wall
with paint" - Talmy's satellite-framed/verb-framed typology?  How do
you say "I painted the wall red" in Spanish?


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Peter Bleackley <peter.bleackley@...>