English and Chinese culture are quite different from each other, because of different language habits, historical background, traditional customs and so on, The cultural differences between them are reflected obviously not only on literature, arts, thought etc, but also on something inconspicuous, such as the usage of color words.
There are a large quantity of English color words. According to etymology, they can be divided into two kinds, basic color words and object color words. The former are some words which are used to express the color of something originally, such as white, black, gray, brown, red, green, yellow, blue and purple. The latter are names of some objects initially, and anyone of them has a distinctive color. Later these words can refer to the characterized colors of the objects as well as themselves. For example, gold, silver, orange and so on. (¡¶Ó¢ÓïÉùÉ«´ÊÓë·
10;ë¡·, ÕÅÅà»ù) But only basic color words will be discussed in the thesis.
In this part, the common classification of color words would be introduced.
1. adjective + color word
(1) ¡°deep/dark + color word ¡±: indicating the strong color
eg: deep red; deep green; dark gray; dark brown
(2) ¡°light/pale + color word ¡±: indicating the light color
eg: light blue; light yellow; pale purple; pale gray
(3) ¡°rich/bright/vivid + color word¡±: indicating the bright color
eg: rich red; bright green; vivid yellow
(4) ¡°dull/dirty + color word ¡±:indicating the dark color
eg: dull yellow; dull brown; dirty white; dirty pink
2. color word + -ish
These words indicate the different shades of the color. An adjective followed by ¨Cish means ¡°slight/ approximately¡±.
eg: yellow book leaves; reddish face; whitish sky
3. color word + color word
This pattern indicates the mixture of the colors. The former stands for the main color, while the latter functions as modification.
eg: green yellow; gray blue; purple blue
4. color word + and + color word
Two colors coexisting in something without being mixed form a design and color.
eg: black and white; yellow and blue; gray and green
The color words can not be confined to the classification above. As a whole, humanity has a common understanding for colors. For example, white suggests purity, and black represents evil. ¡°Red light¡± is the road signal meaning stop or danger on railway. But colors may convey different messages to the people in different cultures. Due to the respective cultural background and tradition, some phrases containing color words have far-reaching meanings, forming different connotations. What does ¡°see red¡± mean? If he is in a blue mood, what kind of mood is...