colour me simple

Gredos mountains, province of Ávila

In Welsh, the colour word glas is frequently coupled with mountains and hills – think of all those places, roads, B&Bs, schools etc, called Bryn Glas – but in other contexts it’s probably best translated as ‘blue’ rather than green. Of course, looking at the mountains in the photo – which is much prettier if you click on it to see it full size – that makes some kind of sense. (Not that they are Welsh mountains; it’s the Sierra de Gredos seen from the south.)

Years ago, a Mexican teacher told me I couldn’t say I had green eyes: in Spanish, she assured me, los ojos were either negros or azules. Similarly, I suppose, I could have said that black eyes meant something entirely different in English.

And, of course, it’s not just a language or cultural thing: different people see colours differently and label them quite differently. The Doghouse Diaries colour wheel comic sums up the male female divide quite wittily, and Randall Munroe of xkcd did a fairly comprehensive survey about colour names and gender.

One more colour related link, for those who have time to waste: you might like to try a colour challenge, though I suspect the quality of the screen you are using will have a bearing on how well you do.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

2 thoughts on “colour me simple”

  1. But “Ojos verdes” is even a Becquer story, and if you look in Google, you’ll have to change your idea. Maybe iit is recent, as a novelty, but Becquer? (I have not read any prose by him)

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    1. From the Becquer story: “[…] unos ojos de un color imposible[…]”, which rather confirms the idea that it’s not normal in Spanish. It was probably 25 years ago the teacher said it to me, and I suspect it might have been true in the past when there was less contact with extranjeros.

      It’s just occurred to me, though, to wonder what colour eyes cats would have had if it really were the case.

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