Help support TMP

"Language and Color" Topic

10 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Painting Message Board

Areas of Interest


466 hits since 25 Apr 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2018 6:19 p.m. PST

An article from the BBC about how people who speak different languages see colors differently.

I know a while back TMP had an article about ancient people and if they could distinguish the color blue or not. This is sort of in that vein.

This may have some bearing on how you paint figures, particularly if you discuss colors with people who speak a significantly different language from yours.


Mike Bunkermeister Creek

thosmoss26 Apr 2018 6:49 p.m. PST

It's spelled "colour", isn't it?

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member26 Apr 2018 6:55 p.m. PST


So … when I speak Spanish with family I'll see colors one way, and when I speak English with friends and neighbors I'll see the same colors differently? :)


zoneofcontrol Inactive Member26 Apr 2018 8:39 p.m. PST

Wow, I remember having a very similar discussion in class with my 8th grade teacher (a Korean War Marine) back in the '73-'74. It was all about people's perception of color and how it may differ from the next person. It was more philosophical and less detailed about terms and specifics. He was a cool dude and rather funny. Your post and the linked article brought back some neat memories.

foxweasel26 Apr 2018 10:32 p.m. PST

Yes, when I'm in the States I see colors like Gray quite well, but when I'm back home in England I see colours like Grey much better. Interesting how the spellings change, no one's right or wrong, just different.

Personal logo Lluis of Minairons Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Apr 2018 7:06 a.m. PST

So … when I speak Spanish with family I'll see colors one way, and when I speak English with friends and neighbors I'll see the same colors differently? :)

Perhaps I'm wrong, but what I've understood is that cultures and languages can have a number of names for different colour varieties because of the need to distinguish them, while others can pass with one single name due to scarcity reasons.

I imagine for instance that Amazonian languages probably use a lot of different names to indicate a number of green shades, while deep desert culture languages might have just a handful of them (or just a qualifying adjective to define 'medium-', 'light-' and 'deep-' greens). Maybe, just maybe.

As a matter of fact, cultures themselves have probably changed with time the definition of what a particular colour is. Now it come to my mind a couple of colours any Western European would know three centuries ago, while now it would be hard to find anyone capable to define them.

JimSelzer Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2018 10:30 a.m. PST

like eskimo's have many words for ice

Dynaman878927 Apr 2018 10:57 a.m. PST

Just like everyone else has many words for ice as well.

per ardua Inactive Member02 May 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

I read that article on the bbc. Anybody remember the blue and black or gold and white dress argument a few years back.

Elenderil17 May 2018 5:47 a.m. PST

A good example in English is the word Orange. Many animals with an orange towards red colouring are known as "Red". Red squirrels, Robin Red Breast, Red and White spaniels are good examples. All because English didn't have a word for the tone between Red and Yellow so Red was used until Oranges arrived here and we borrowed the name of the fruit for the colour.

So although the colour orange existed there was no name for it and in looking at medieval accounts the description of colours needs to be treated with care if red is mentioned. Usefully heraldic terms are used such as Murray and Azure are often used instead of purple and pale blue.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.