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
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eg: yellow book leaves; reddish face; whitish sky

3. color word + color word

This pattern indicates the mixture of the colors. The former stands for the main color, while the latter functions as modification.

eg: green yellow; gray blue; purple blue

4. color word + and + color word

Two colors coexisting in something without being mixed form a design and color.

eg: black and white; yellow and blue; gray and green

Part II

The color words can not be confined to the classification above. As a whole, humanity has a common understanding for colors. For example, white suggests purity, and black represents evil. ¡°Red light¡± is the road signal meaning stop or danger on railway. But colors may convey different messages to the people in different cultures. Due to the respective cultural background and tradition, some phrases containing color words have far-reaching meanings, forming different connotations. What does ¡°see red¡± mean? If he is in a blue mood, what kind of mood is he in? Is he happy, sad or what? Obviously, red and blue do not mean just the color. Each has additional meanings¡ªcertain cultural associations¡ªthat are hidden behind the word. This part will be devoted to the discussion of the differences and similarities of color words between English and Chinese culture.

2.1 Red

In both

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