Colors in Czirehlat
|From:||Herman Miller <hmiller@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, July 28, 2001, 1:46|
I've been thinking of revising the Czirelat color system. Up until now,
Czirehlat had the same basic 11 color categories as English: black, white,
red, green, yellow, blue, purple, orange, brown, pink, and gray. "Pink" is
a marginal color category for me, and many of my languages lack a word for
it. But I usually do have distinct words for orange, brown, and gray.
Here are the old words for the basic color categories:
biri marvi vezi xiri zimi nuri juli reji fali szayi kavi
red brown orange yellow green blue purple pink white gray black
I've been playing around with which colors would be the best ones to
subordinate into other categories. After pink, orange was the first one to
go. Different shades of orange got put into the yellow, red, and brown
categories. (This temporarily leaves me without a name for a kind of bird
called the Olive Warbler, which used to be called "orangehead", but other
than that, I haven't had much use for the word "orange").
For a while I was tempted to use a four-color scheme, based on the opposing
pairs of colors red/green and yellow/blue (based on the CIELAB standard,
which is supposed to be related to the way we perceive colors). But I'm
finding it hard to perceive purple as either a variety of red or blue.
Worse, dark shades of "yellow" don't look anything like yellow to me. So I
probably won't use the CIELAB colors, and I'll keep brown as a distinct
color. Purple isn't quite as useful, and I may end up splitting it up
between red and blue even though I still perceive it as a distinct hue.
The other question is whether I should add to the basic colors. There
aren't many commonly occurring saturated colors that the existing scheme
doesn't cover adequately, but "sky blue" as distinct from deeper shades of
blue could be a useful one. What could be more useful is having basic words
for unsaturated colors, such as "tan". Other than "tan", most unsaturated
colors in English are either called things like "pale green" or "blue-
gray", or else they have infrequently used names like "mauve". It might be
useful to have a word for "pale green". Whether or not that should be one
of the *basic* color words is another question.
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