The Differences and Similarities of Color Words between English and Chinese Culture

The Differences and Similarities of Color Words between English and Chinese Culture

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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.

Part I

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...

... middle of paper ...


ÇàÔÆÖ±ÉÏ ~~ rapid advancement in one¡¯s career

ºì·Û¼ÑÈË ~~ a young beauty

ºìÄÐÂÌÅ® ~~gaily dress men and women

On many occasions, it is not the basic meaning of the color that functions, but the profound culture associations related to the color. That is to say, the differences in using color words between Chinese and English stand out, when the color words themselves do not play an important part.

In a word, culture affects a color word¡¯s meaning lastingly and deeply. The usage of color words characterizes distinctive culture of a nation. Therefore, it is practically useful to know and study the differences between English and Chinese culture, thus promoting the cultural communication and translation practice.

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