July 08, 2012

Who Put The Seams In the Rainbows?

Via Transterrestrial Musings comes an interesting story on the differences between languages expression of colors. One thing that interested me, the old story I'd been told about Japanese stoplights (that they were red and blue prior to 1945) is probably false.

...But in Japanese, vegetables are ao-mono, literally blue things. Green apples? They’re blue too. As are the first leaves of spring, if you go by their Japanese name. In English, the term green is sometimes used to describe a novice, someone inexperienced. In Japanese, they’re ao-kusai, literally they ‘smell of blue’...

You know...I really ought to have caught that.

 (Source unknown)

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 01:01 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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I think that generally we in the west consider a rainbow to have five colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue). In Japan they think it's seven: red, orange, yellow, light green, dark green, blue, purple. (Your picture doesn't accurately represent either side...)

The inclusion of purple is strange, because purple isn't really a color. All the others can be represented by a single frequency of light, but there is no single frequency of light which looks purple.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sun Jul 8 18:49:27 2012 (+rSRq)

2 I remember when I was learning Japanese being told that the word for Blue represented a color leaning more towards green than what we think of as blue.

Also, I remember reading that it was DaVinci who proposed our division of the spectrum into 7 colors (not five).  Remember the Mnemonic "Roy G. Biv" Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

Posted by: Mauser at Sun Jul 8 21:36:13 2012 (cZPoz)

Your picture doesn't accurately represent either side

But it DOES accurately represent Hello Kitty riding a unicorn that is farting a rainbow and thus it is awesome.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Mon Jul 9 11:11:52 2012 (e9h6K)

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