"The family's cat is black."
Translation:Ailenin kedisi siyah.
it is typical to say "kara kedi" but "kedi kara" is a bit weird - we can add it of course.
In general most of the alternative names for colors (actually the original Turkish words) like kara (siyah, black), ak (beyaz, white), al (kırmızı, red), kızıl (red), gök (blue (sometimes green or something in between)), boz (gri, grey) are used only in specific contexts (mostly for animals plants etc) as the loanwords took over. Interesting issue though.
Is it a distinction between attributive/predicative adjectives? Like: Is it normal to say "kara bir kedi" (a black cat) but "kedi siyah" (the cat IS black)?
In any case I was wondering about when the alternative terms for colors were used anyway. Very interesting!
No, it's just that some words have, in time, gained other meanings when used as a predicate. In this case, "kara" is often used for darkness, obscurity, evil and all that stuff when used as a predicate. Of course, there are instances where it doesn't necessarily mean that, and it also depends a lot on your intonation.
Regarding the alternative names for the colours, there are specific contexts where it's more suitable to use them, either for poetic reasons or because it's now a "tradition" to do so.
For instance, from "ak", we have the verb "ağarmak" (to go white), and it's used to talk about the dawn break: "Hava ağarıyor." (The dawn is breaking). It's also used to to refer to how the hair turns white as you get older. "Saçları ağardı." (His hair turned white). Ak also has connotations with purity and cleanliness.
Al, which is a synonym of kırmızı (from which the French word "cramoisie" was born, btw.), is used for when your face turns red with embarassment. In poetry, it's also used for the colour of blood.
And so on and so forth. You'll learn these eventually, the more you read Turkish. :-]
Ama babam ölürse ve annem sahilde güneşlenirse, annem karadul olabilir belki!
it is really not about attributive/predicative adjectives. but some of those are just idiomatic as attributive adjectives.
as I said we only use them in specific contexts, I don't really have an explanation. Just some examples:
- kara delik: black hole (siyah is not acceptable)
- Kara/siyah kedi: balck cat (kara is preferred)
- kara göz: black eye ("gözleri kara"- so predicative is also totally fine. siyah is also OK)
and I found this about kara vs siyah: http://dergiler.ankara.edu.tr/dergiler/27/749/9570.pdf
- boz ayı: that's actually a sort of brownish/greyish kind of bear
boz kurt: grey wolf (gri kurt? weird)
ak sakal: white beard (beyaz is I think OK but less common)
yumurta akı: egg white (yumurta beyazı is wrong, yumurtanın beyazı is OK)
kızıl saç: red hair (kırmızı saç is actually a different thing, kızıl is more like natural red, kırmızı saç is more like if you color it totally bright red. it is also correct as a predicative, "onun saçları kızıl" is totally fine)
Kara mizah - black humor or dark humor
Kara cuma - black friday
Kara is preferred for natural things like animals and plants while only siyah is used for painted objects. kara can be used for unnatural things but then it means dark, darkish or blackish.