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Vowel "colors", was "colored scripts" etc.

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Sunday, January 20, 2002, 17:30
I've considered using the color wheel to express vowel qualities. Now colors
are expressed in three dimensions: hue, saturation and luminance.

Hue: There are six cardinal colors, so I assign them to six basic vowels.
Farsi has a fairly symmetrical six-vowel system, with the back vowels all
rounded. The first color is red, and the first vowel is /a/, low front
unrounded. From there I get the assignments:

a (low front) = red
e (mid front) = yellow
i (high front) = lime
u (high back) = aqua
o (mid back) = blue
aa (low back) = fuchsia

Saturation: the central "schwa" vowel is gray. So a centralized (or
retracted, etc.) vowel is a tinted gray.

Luminance: a bright color is an unrounded vowel; a dark color is a rounded
vowel. So the back vowels in Farsi are actually teal, navy and purple. (The
colors I gave above are for unrounded vowels.) For front rounded vowels,
like those found in German, the colors are maroon for the open ä (IPA oe),
olive for closed ä (IPA ø), and green for ü (IPA y). A light gray-dark gray
opposition would be used for the open "German" schwa and the closed "French"

Two theoretical vowels are marked with white and black respectively: an
"aaaaahhhhh" with the mouth wide open, and an utterance with the lips
completely shut, i.e. a hum. Realistically, I'd use black for no
vowel/syllabic nasal or liquid, and forget about white since I'm probably
going to be writing or printing on white paper anyway.


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Dan Sulani <dnsulani@...>
Dan Sulani <dnsulani@...>