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Re: [ontolog-forum] notes and rumours

To: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>, Ontolog Forum <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Waclaw Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 03 Jul 2007 17:47:16 +0200
Message-id: <468A6F84.1030104@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat Hayes wrote:
> I would translate both 'siny' and 'niebieski' as 'blue' and 'blekitny' 
> as 'pastel blue' or 'sky blue' or 'light blue' depending on the context, 
> unless a more precise translation were important. English refers to 
> frozen people having blue lips. This kind of phenomenon is common, 
> almost universal: different cultures and languages carve up the color 
> space into different named regions. (The same happens with, for example, 
> spatial prepositions: Dutch has a version of 'in' which applies only to 
> the case of a tight or exact fit.) Nevertheless, the choice of the 
> prototypical colors is, apparently, not cultural. A Pole will draw a 
> different boundary around 'niebieski' than an Englishman will around 
> 'blue', but if you ask them to choose one color point to be the most 
> representative such color, they will choose the same one. Everyone on 
> the planet will choose fire-engine red, alarm yellow and policeman-blue 
> as the most typical or characteristic colors.    (01)

Much as this may seem likely, claims such as 'a Pole will' and 'everyone 
will' beg for more reference than mere intuition.    (02)

> For an artist, there are many color names, often very precise, some of 
> them named after particular pigments. Cerulean is the color of a shallow 
> sea over white sand. Prussian blue is a dark, rich green-tinted 
> translucent blue, like dark blue glass. Ultramarine is a bright vivid 
> intense saturated blue, a little too dark to be 'simply blue' but 
> otherwise very close to the prototype. Less precise, and more in common 
> usage, there are 'sky blue', which refers to a moderate pastel blue 
> (not, in fact, the color of a clear sunny sky, which is more saturated) 
> and Pthalo blue, which is somewhere between cerulean and prussian. 
> Similarly, any painter will know the difference between chrome yellow, 
> lemon yellow and naples yellow; or between chrome red, alizarin and rose 
> madder; or sap green, viridian and chrome green. Or, for that matter, 
> between zinc white and titanium white, or lamp black and ivory black. 
> But I doubt that any of these distinctions are widely known by people 
> who do not use artists pigments.
> I wonder, is all this English? Or is it Artist English, a special dialect?    (03)

May be the latter.  Maybe even not Artist English, but just Artistese. 
Most such specialized color names, I suppose, are used in more or less 
the same form in languages other than English.    (04)

Back to 'siny':  this is not Artist Polish.  This word is in common use, 
every Pole, so to speak, knows it (and knows what it means).    (05)

vQ    (06)

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