How well do you know colours?
Would you describe beige as a shade of yellow or brown? Can you tell burgundy from bordeaux (without having a sip)? Or azure from turquoise? I know that the first is a blue colour and the second is a green colour. Or is turquoise blue as well?
For me it’s a mess. Azure is blue, without ‘either’ or ‘neither’. Turquoise is green, with either less or more blue. - that’s what I mostly say which made some of my friends with artistic veins laugh. For them it is obviously blue. But I learnt that in fact we would be talking about two different colours and the root of the problem is in Babel0
Nevertheless, when they tell me that it’s blue, I assure them that it is green. To be frank, my favourite colour is green. Back to the root of the problem(s).
Intruducing a little grammar
About beige, Wiki1
‘Beige is variously described as a pale sandy fawn color, a grayish tan, a light-grayish yellowish brown, or a pale to grayish yellow. It takes its name from French, where the word originally meant natural wool that has been neither bleached, nor dyed, hence also the color of natural wool. It has come to be used to describe a variety of light tints chosen for their neutral or pale warm appearance.’
Now we know exactly what it isn’t. Beige is not green, nor is it blue.
You can say: Beige could be (amongst others) either a greyish yellow, or a yellowish brown colour.
You can also say: Beige is neither green, nor blue.
We use the first structure to show two options, and the second to exclude both as options.
Back to the colours, more specifically, reddish colours - I will skip the wordplay for now, and rather talk about a fruit than a vegetable.
Geszetye (maroon), the colour, in my first language (similarly to others) is named after the fruit, but we say that it’s brown. ‘Gesztenyebarna3
’ - which literally means, chestnut brown. When looking into this I had to find that it is a confusion on a (nearly) global scale.
Choose a hat
, you may buy a maroon hat that is dark reddish-purple. If you order from Springfield, Massachusetts5,
the maroon hat might as well be dark red. From France6
it is always brownish-red. That is also a maroon hat. Pardon, ‘marron’. Care for some dessert?
We can say: Maroon can be described either as a brownish crimson or a dark-brownish red colour.
We can also say: Maroon is neither the colour of the clear blue sky7, nor is it a light greenish blue8.
Welcome to my brightly-hued mess. (Special thanks to Mark for the word!)
Turns out that in Hungarian there is an actual word for the colour, ‘türkízzöld’9
which is differentiated from the word ‘türkíz(kék)’10
, both deriving from the name of a gem that apparently can be found in more than one colour. Once again, it would have paid off to be more attentive in school. Now there is a slight trembling in my head, behind my eyeballs, after quickly browsing through a fair amount of colour palettes on two different screens.
As a quick wrap up
You can say: Turquoise is neither a reddish, nor a brownish colour.
You can also say: Turquoise is either green or green; and sometimes blue.
Let’s choose a colour for our day/night.
It is raining here but all the trees and plants are vivid green, so I say blue this time.
All in all, I hope you either learnt something new, or simply had fun reading this.
I wish you a nice evening, or a nice day!