How English describes color vs how Chinese describes color

Illustration for article titled How English describes color vs how Chinese describes color

Here's a fascinating visualization created by Muyueh Lee that shows the differences between how the English language and Chinese language each describe colors. On the left, you can see the number of English names for color hues (there's a lot!) and on the right, the number of Chinese names (there's a little!).

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The above images show:

The Hue-Saturation-Lightness (HSL) model is a 3D model that can be projected on a 2D space.

Using Hue as an angle, we can set either Saturation as the radius

Even more interesting are the images below though. This is where Lee shows the amount of words each language has for each 'base' color. You can see the top three described colors in English are blue, green and pink vs the most popular colors in Chinese are red, blue and green.

Lee compares and points out more differences on his site here. It all raises the interesting mind exercise question on whether speaking a certain language allows you to "see" more color (since there are more descriptions).

Illustration for article titled How English describes color vs how Chinese describes color
Illustration for article titled How English describes color vs how Chinese describes color

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DISCUSSION

xrave
Xraveinfinity

The methodology is flawed.

Chinese linguistically is more prone to describing color using word combinations ("dark orange") and materials ("granite grey") than English.

Just going by single-word color and information encoded within doesn't mean much. You can't compare Crimson (color) with 岩, which by itself means Rock first on the symbolic ladder.