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All about the orange!

 Language Learning Forum : Philological Room Post Reply
48 messages over 6 pages: 13 4 5 6  Next >>
strikingstar
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United States
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 Message 9 of 48
26 October 2011 at 12:13pm | IP Logged 
Indeed. So far, on this thread, names for the fruit have referenced either its
connection to the color "orange", it's introduction to the West by Portugal or its
origins as an "apple from China".

But the color itself (orange, naranja etc), seems to have the same origins across a
broad spectrum of languages, i.e. Sanskrit नारङ्ग nāraṅgaḥ "orange tree" (from Wiki).
Which begs the question, what was the color known as in these languages before the
fruit was introduced to the West? Ignoring "geoluhread" (yellow-red) was there just no
concept of the color? If there is no word for it, can there still be a concept of it?

Not recognizing a color should not be too surprising. I seem to recall having
been told that there were only 3 "real" colors in Swahili - nyeusi (black), nyeupe
(white) and nyekudu (red). Buluu (blue) was obviously borrowed. Majani can mean green
or leaves. And manjano can mean yellow or turmeric. This was what set me thinking about
the whole "orange" business in the first place.


Edit:
H.Computatralis wrote:
Actually, there is an ongoing debate among linguists about the
universality of color terms, so you may be onto something.


Wow, I just skimmed through part of it and saw this:
Quote:
1. All languages contain terms for black and white.
2. If a language contains three terms, then it contains a term for red.


Which corresponds to the 3 'real' colors in Swahili.

Edited by strikingstar on 26 October 2011 at 12:27pm

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H.Computatralis
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 Message 10 of 48
26 October 2011 at 12:36pm | IP Logged 
strikingstar wrote:

H.Computatralis wrote:
Actually, there is an ongoing debate among linguists about the
universality of color terms, so you may be onto something.


Wow, I just skimmed through part of it and saw this:
Quote:
1. All languages contain terms for black and white.
2. If a language contains three terms, then it contains a term for red.


Which corresponds to the 3 'real' colors in Swahili.

Exactly. And if you look further down:

7. If a language contains eight or more terms, then it contains a term for purple, pink, orange, and/or grey.

Since orange is so low on that scale then it should be expected that many languages don't have a native term for it and need to use borrowings or the color of a fruit instead.

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iguanamon
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 Message 11 of 48
26 October 2011 at 12:46pm | IP Logged 
In the Caribbean Spanish of Puerto Rico an orange is a "china". Orange juice is "jugo de china" and color "color naranja". I almost never hear "naranja" for the fruit except from foreigners- both Spanish speakers and second language speakers. You will be understood if you ask for "jugo de naranja", but asking for "jugo de china" will get second language speakers of Spanish a reply in Spanish instead of English.

Edited by iguanamon on 26 October 2011 at 11:54pm

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Mauritz
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 Message 12 of 48
26 October 2011 at 12:50pm | IP Logged 
We also have the word "brandgul" (fire yellow) in Swedish, which is older than "orange".
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Ari
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 Message 13 of 48
26 October 2011 at 12:52pm | IP Logged 
Mauritz wrote:
We also have the word "brandgul" (fire yellow) in Swedish, which is older than "orange".

Yeah, I was just about to mention that. I think the word "orange" in Swedish has to a certain extent replaced the older "brandgul", but the latter is still very much correct. And, as has been pointed out, the fruit is called "apelsin". So there you go. Three words. Swedish wins!
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jdmoncada
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 Message 14 of 48
26 October 2011 at 4:40pm | IP Logged 
The Spanish word I learned for the color of orange was "anaranjado." It has parts of "naranja" but isn't merely that.

The Finnish paradigm is appelsiini (the fruit) and oranssi (the color).
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Nguyen
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 Message 15 of 48
26 October 2011 at 5:06pm | IP Logged 
It's the same in Vietnamese; cam and cam, just with different counters, Strangely oranges here are mainly dark green outide with an orange center.
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aloysius
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 Message 16 of 48
26 October 2011 at 5:53pm | IP Logged 
Ari wrote:
Mauritz wrote:
We also have the word "brandgul" (fire yellow) in Swedish, which is older than "orange".

Yeah, I was just about to mention that. I think the word "orange" in Swedish has to a certain extent replaced the older "brandgul", but the latter is still very much correct. And, as has been pointed out, the fruit is called "apelsin". So there you go. Three words. Swedish wins!


Brandgul is rarely used nowadays, but I seem to remember it was more common a couple of decades ago. Actually the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter included it on its list of endangered words (in Swedish).

And orange is notoriously difficult to inflect in Swedish. I don't think this advice (in Swedish) is followed by many native speakers of Swedish.

By the way, I used to believe that the Danish word for carrot (gulerod) meant yellow-red, but it must of course mean yellow root.

/aloysius


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