colour words and parts of speech

Frans Plank Frans.Plank at UNI-KONSTANZ.DE
Tue Apr 4 08:01:43 UTC 2006

I remember discussing such matters with Tapani Salminen (Helsinki) a while
ago, when Edith and some others (including I believe you, David) where
trying to write something on colour terms as possibly the nouniest among
property concepts:  he mentioned a Samoyedic language (I believe it was
Nenets) where colours conceived of as complementary are systematically
either nouns or verbs.


>I'm seeking examples of languages in which different colour words belong
>to different parts of speech.
>An example of such a language is Hebrew, in which most colour words are
>adjectives, but one, "txelet", denoting 'pale blue', exhibits the
>grammatical properties of a noun.
>Does anybody know of any other such examples?
>David Gil
>Department of Linguistics
>Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
>Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
>Telephone: 49-341-3550321
>Fax: 49-341-3550119
>Email: gil at

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