Tuesday, 20 September 2016

THE WEIRDNESS OF WHITE

#white #color #colour #adjectives #classicalgreek

Have you ever considered just how strange color adjectives and names are in Classical Greek?

You can say WHITE as one word but not the concept of WHITENESS.

Also the adjectives describing pale grays and grays contrast with adjectives that describe things that are black or dark as murky dense dim obscure smoky.

Consider Leukos and Argos they often get used in contexts that impliy the white object is shiny or luminous or bright and Polios a common word for Gray implies a very pale gray fading to white like aging hair.

The words for black are Melas Melainos Kelainos Mauros and less common Aithaloeis and skia and skotos when used to describe something being dark seem to imply a contrast of a lessening or lack of lightand limiting of power  to light and strength shining with power and beauty.

Further proof of this ?

Leukos used to refer to chalk cliffs.

Arg+ being the stem of SILVER ARGURA the white metal.

When the ancient writers use color words they are often talking more about contrast in tones than what we would call hue or tint or shades.

Some complain English has too large a vocabulary but much as i love Greek it is a paucity of color adjectives compared to English but fortunately their use of creative metaphor and simile often leads us to not notice this.