5 Answers

  1. Are you talking about the language in general? From the point of view of linguistics, there is no motivated connection between the word-sign (the sounds you hear and the letters you see) and any phenomenon of reality. This is not to say that any set of sounds/letters is directly determined by the “essence” of the designated object. This set can be anything. The simplest example of arbitrary word choice is onomatopoeic words. What word do you use to describe how noisy your dog is? If you are French, she greets you with “ouaoua”, a German dog seems to greet you with” wow-wow”, and a well-known” woof-woof ” is issued by a Russian dog. Something similar to the actual sound, but not the actual sound itself. That is, you can “invent”, subjectively denote something with any letters or sounds you want. This will be a completely random, “random” word. With such arbitrariness, linguistics will not answer your question.�

    If you are interested in how the set of sounds/letters in a word's composition has changed over time in a particular Russian language, you can use Fasmer's etymological dictionary. “At the time of the creation of the world,” what was the word “blue”is not known for certain, but we can say that it came from the form of the Proto-Slavic word, from which, among other things, the Ukrainian siniy and Belarusian syni came.

  2. Good question. This topic is based on the fact that there is no connection between the word and the phenomenon at all. The great linguist Ferdinand de Saussure wrote about this. He used the terms signified and signifier.�

    The signified is the content side of the question, otherwise it also has its own characteristics. A signifier is a specific representative. That is, when we say horse, we mean an animal, but there can be many variants of this horse.

    In the language, there is no connection between the word watermelon and watermelon in reality. That is, nothing in the concept of watermelon relates to a specific berry. The names are completely random. We can trace the trace of the Russian language to Sanskrit, but even then we don't know from the source why blue is blue

  3. You can only try to explain the origin of flower names based on general linguistic approaches if you are a representative of one of them. For a non-linguist and a non-philosopher, the difference between the theories of Ferdinand de Saussure and Noem Chomsky is a matter of taste: If you are not a structuralist or generativist, you will never explain why de Saussure is different from Chomsky or vice versa.

    The main problem with color designations is that from childhood we are asked to learn colors as basic qualia. However, the “chromaticity” of the world is far from mandatory for the population division. For example, the color-blind person's deviant perception of color does not interfere with their communication and socialization: outside of special practices that require common color identification, color blindness is fully functional. It is always surprising to learn about color perception disorders in close friends – it turns out that color blindness does not significantly distort the perception of reality. That is, we don't care what color the world is, as long as we don't try to describe it, portray it, or create some artifact.

    Common color designations can be reduced to three or four color ranges. So, “blue” in parallel with “cyan” or” cyan “goes back to the ancient Greek “κυανoῦς” (kyanos), which denoted the color of patina on copper and its alloys (the range “blue-green”). “Red” goes back to the understanding of the colors of the “red-orange” range as beautiful, (“red” as artificially, on occasion, colored). The common origin is “red”, “pink”, “rusty”, “ruddy” (Russian) and “rudy”, “rozhevy”, “irzhavy”, ” rum'yaniy “(Ukrainian), “red”, “ruby”,” robin “(English),” rojo “(Spanish),” rouge “(French),” rosso “(Italian),” ruger ” (Latin).

    The complexity of color gradation arises from special considerations, such as a visual task or color indication. Artistic color designations, for example, were originally formed by the names of pigments used in paints. It developed parallel to the ordinary, but always surpassed it in detail. The same blue is “lapis lazuli” and “turquoise” (which is also “turquoise”, that is, “Turkish”) and so on.

    The tradition of frequent use of a particular shade helps to secure its own name, as for example happened with the color “thighs of a frightened nymph”. In modern color models like Pantone, many colors also have their own names. In addition, modern color designations are often carried out by copywriters and marketers in order to create the illusion of a unique color scheme of a certain product. In these cases, the color designation uses an allusion to a cultural phenomenon or a reference to an object or phenomenon of extra-linguistic reality.

  4. The words used to denote colors come either from the names of objects that have a characteristic color (milk, blood, ash), or are borrowed (bordeaux, chamois, solitaire). The former sometimes lose their original etymological connection and are perceived as abstract concepts. This is what happened to brown, whose connection to the word “cinnamon” is no longer so obvious.�

    New colors “appear” also due to addition (sky blue, dark green), as well as due to the development of a new semantic function in color names – advertising. The latter appeared in the twentieth century, when there was a need not so much to accurately determine the color, but to draw attention to it. Lexical combinations such as aggressive red or purple chic began to appear. On the other hand, the names associated with the color only associatively spread: The Bahamas or the oriental garden. You can read more here.

    The article I refer to says that, in general, no new words appear: just words that previously existed in the language acquire the meaning of color. For example, in many languages, words with the meaning of white go back to the Indo-European basis *bhel – 'to be bright, bright, shine, shine' or * šveit – (other ind. cveta) 'light, light, white'.�

    The origin of some flower names can be found here and here. There is an article on Cyberlenink that tells you about color terms formed from animal names. Here's another – “Forming a system of color designations in Russian adjectives”. And here's the interesting part.

  5. There is a whole theory about how and in what order names for flowers appear in languages, first proposed by Brent Berlin and Paul Kay.Its essence is that names for colors appear in languages gradually, and almost always in a certain sequence. All languages have words for ” black / dark “and”white/light”. Moreover, ” languages with only these two words are documented.If there are three colors in a language, then the third one is always red, because this is a feature of our psychology: the ability to recognize red is a distinctive feature of higher primates. The fourth,�fifth and sixth colors are either blue / green or yellow/green.”And usually”the pair “blue” and yellow-green “or” blue-green and yellow ” appears first, and then green is isolated into a separate color.

    All these colors somehow arise from words related to the surrounding world. For example, Russian “yellow” and “green” go back to the same root, meaning “vegetation” (which is logical, see “grain”). Sometimes some words crowd out others: thus, the word “red”, which originally meant simply “beautiful”, replaced ” rudy “and lost its original meaning, just as in the late”brown “�in general replaced” brown “(cf. English” red “and” brown”), and we can even easily trace the etymology of” brown”.

    Well, and then – it all depends on the object that gave the color its name. So in general, there is no fundamental difference between “blue” and “purple”, “burgundy”, “salmon” and “light green” – they went through the same process, but at different times.

    The theory of Berlin and Kay is described in a little more detail in the note to this article:


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