The Name of Shades of Green
Unnamable colors just beyond the consciousness
see anew relax the rigid perspective
color a visual perception of the observer
not a property of electromagnetic radiation
how we divide and name the colors
more to do with thinking than seeing
The Ova-Himba of Angola or Himba of Northern Namibia
use five color names
"serandu" reds, browns, oranges and some yellows
"dambu" or "ndumbu" a variety of greens, reds, beige, brown and yellows
the term used for a Caucasian person
"zuzu" or "zoozu" describes most dark shades
black, dark red, dark purple, dark blue, etc.
the colors of the falling dusk
or a dark green butterfly
"vapa" is white and some shades of yellow
the light colors of the sunrise
or a yellow cat
"buru" or "mburau" is vivid shades of green and blue
like a blue falcon
it is thought only naming a few colors
increases the time it takes
to distinguish between two similar colors
compared to people whose language separates the colors
like Western languages into eleven or twelve colour or color categories
black, white, red, blue (light blue, dark blue), green, yellow,
orange, brown, pink, gray, and purple
Language influences perception of color
imagine 12 tiles 11 the same color
and one is a different color
choose the one that looks different
11 one shade of green
one tile slightly lighter or darker
to the Western eye very similar
but easy for the Himba who have two completely different words
for different kinds of green
A second test is harder
eleven green tiles and one blue tile
all were "buru" shades of green and blue
not as easy to distinguish for the Himba eye
Other Ovaherero speaking people with more contact with the West
use other names of colors
"otjihoni" (orange/brownish and maybe check-patterned or irregularly dotted)
"omblou" (blue) from the Afrikaans word “blou”
"ongrien" (green) from the English “green” for shades of color
the word ondumbe (meaning very or strong or dark)
or the word "ondjere" (meaning light, not so very)
is put behind the name of the color
by Kimberly Burnham Color and Healing Poetry Challenge Day 18
April 18, 2020
Words from https://www.gondwana-collection.com/blog/how-do-namibian-himbas-see-colour/
and refuted at https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=18237
Color Myth https://prezi.com/p/je6_jzrblmqx/legend-of-the-colors/
(c) Kimberly Burnham, 2020
Peace Dictionary, The Meaning of Peace and Calm in 4000 languages
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Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine)
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