Friday, 22 August 2008

the misleading names of colours

Recently I received a limited edition excerpt from the book on synesthesia, “Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens” by Pat Duffy and discovered something strange: The title of the book in Spanish is “Gatos Azules y Gatitos Verde Manzana” seemed to carry more accurately Pat’s synesthetic experience of “cats” and “kittens. Ironically, and I have always known this, despite my indepth understanding of colours and the words we use to label them, the word Chartreuse has always been dark fuchsia to me (as fuchsia has been a bit more of a dark violet with a fluffy fringe). At the same time “verde manzana” feels precisely apple green or chartreuse (which is its meaning in Spanish). The “Gatos Azules” part is ok, though “Gatos” has always seemed grey to me, making the azul (blue) a bit cobalty and smokey. I don’t experience the kind of synesthesia where you see the letters in different colours-the classic test doesn’t work for me I just see a triangle of jumbled up 5s and 2s unless I really search.

Nonetheless, I get a undeniable sense of the colour of sounds, words and concepts. Funnily the most common colours are themselves, eg blue is blue, green is green and red is red. It is the less common ones whose names defy their physical properties eg Fusicia and Chartreuse; although I know what colours they really are, they will always be something else as well, they have a hidden identity only for me.

Anyhow I was cruising the Internet today and came across a few sites, some perhaps more interesting than others. Check them out and share your objective points of view if you have time:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one that sees concepts in color! Concepts, sounds, letters, numbers, smells, tastes, time.