"I have a green dress on."
Translation:Tha dreasa uaine orm.
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So in English ruadh is red… but dearg is also red… Can someone explain or do Englishmen just take guess when talking about colours?
Colour naming in general isn’t consistent between languages. There is no single green colour – what you might refer to by green in English is a spectrum of shades and hues and the fact that there is a separate word for blue denoting colours after some arbitrary boundary does not mean that a similar word with the same boundary must exist in Gaelic. And the fact that Gaelic has separate words ruadh (copper reds of rust, human hair, animal fur) and dearg (more saturated red of blood, red pepper, artificial red paint) doesn’t mean English has to follow this distinction in its basic colors – it covers both with a single word red.
Generally in Europe one pattern of colour-naming became dominant and most languages follow it, so generally it’s fairly easy to translate colours between English, German, Spanish, Polish, etc. – but Celtic languages still use a little bit different scheme.
I don’t know a good resource for Scottish Gaelic colours like this, but this image for Irish is pretty good and Gaelic follows a similar scheme – but in Scottish gorm is much more used for greener colours while glas for greyer ones, eg. green grass would be feur gorm in Scottish Gaelic but féar glas in Irish:
Hi Silmeth - I always like your posts! Very informative. I've been trying to understand more about how colour is understood in Scottish Gaelic.
I have two reference for colours in Scottish Gaelic.
"Rethinking Highland Art: The Visual Significance of Gaelic Culture", page 48, (2013, MacDonald, Lindsay, Waite, Bateman, editors). With credit to John Stuart Murray, Gaelux, Subtle Shades for Gaelic Landscape (Dathan Maotha airson na Gàidhealtachd), 2010.
"Reading the Gaelic Landscape", 2014, Murray, plate 36 - with a discussion about colour on p195 to 198.
Both these books use the same illustration. A rectangle of 3 X 4 colour blocks.