Talk:colour

Return to "colour" page.

Shouldn't this redirect to color (or vice versa)?

I've made it a link, rather than a redirect. It looks as if color is also in some other languages, while colour seems to be strictly English. But if there are languages I've missed that also have colour, we'd want separate entries. Ortonmc 20:25, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)
That's good. Having link instead of a redirect calls out that it's an alternate spelling.
Please don't Americanise this dictionary. Colour is the English spelling. Color is the American spelling - the alternative spelling. This entry is now wrong and stupid. And I certainly won't be the only one offended by doing this. Hippietrail 20:45, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)
First, I apologize (with a zed :-) for characterizing "colour" as an "alternate spelling". I certainly don't want to open up a transatlantic can of worms.
I'd say the transatlantic can of worms was opened by the jingoistic anglophile who wants to demote American spellings to an "alternative" status. Older things aren't better by dint of their age. English isn't owned by the English. There are many variants. Hatred of the U.S. (which has a long, long history, mainly having little to do with George Bush) shouldn't guide Wiki's policies. -Brian 12:43, 20 Dec 2005 (UTC)
However, I would hardly characterize the new entry as "wrong and stupid". The plain fact is that the two spellings denote the same word. There are only two solutions I can see:
  1. Select one or the other as primary
  2. Factor out the main body into "I say color/you say colour" and point both "color" and "colour" at it.
I have no strong opinion as to which of these is preferable. FWIW, I believe Wiki* originated in the US. On the other hand, English did originate in England. I'd be glad to expound on the subject of what difference either of these facts makes, but again, any of the abovementioned solutions is preferable to arguing over primacy. -dmh 21:09, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I did the entries this way round not with a view to Americentrism, but simply because it looked like less editing work. If this offended anyone, then I apologise; it certainly wasn't intended that way. If you feel it would be better the other way around, I would have no objections. Ortonmc 21:23, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)
One does not make a useful dictionary by reducing editing work. Both entries should be maintained just as was the case earlier. If they are not fully synchronised at all times, that is the price we pay for having a live-editable dictionary. So be it. Any attempt to make it "easier" to make a dictionary of every word in every language is likely to dumb down the result or turn it into a toy. Wiktionary is still very very immature so there's no shortcut to making it into a real dictionary other than adding to it till it's well fleshed out. To me this is an act of "premature optimising" which results in Wiktionary looking Americacentric - and for no real gain. We have to maintain duplicated entries anyway - check out "check" and "cheque" or "tire" and "tyre". If we really really want to fix these kind of problems for the long term, it will involve changing the Wikipedia engine to fit Wiktionary, not vice versa. In the meantime we could develop a policy of urging editors to edit both versions of words which have one or more senses with different spellings and add an index of such words to make it easier to remember which ones need to be watched.Hippietrail 06:51, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I'm certainly sympathetic to the concern about Americacentrism, but there are costs to any approach:
  • Changing the wiki engine runs against the wiki philosophy of not imposing structure. Speaking as a software geek, any such change would not be small and would likely have unforseen and undesirable consequences. My gut feel is we don't yet know enough about the structural requirements of the dictionary to take this on. I had had a similar idea about allowing links to a particular sense of a word (so that inserting a new sense in the middle would not muck up references), and decided that such a change would be technically disruptive and it would be better just to let the wiki do its magic. That would mean
  • Discourage adding new senses in the middle
  • If you do, update internal links on your page
  • As always, if you see a broken link, internal or external, fix it
Note that this does not preclude letting the computer do some of the work. One could write a bot to check for recent changes likely to break links and suggest fixes to a human editor. This could also be a bit tricky to implement, but much less disruptive to the ecosystem.
  • Requiring both versions to be maintained discourages updates. This may not be such an issue with cheque/check, but for a complex of colo(u)r,colo(u)red,colo(u)rful,colo(u)ration etc. it sounds painful. In this particular case, there doesn't seem to be much else going besides a spelling variation. In the case of check/cheque, check may have additional senses (to impede, the chess meaning). As I recall, English usage at least uses "check" for these and reserves "cheque" for the banking and related senses. But in all such cases I defer to a native speaker.
  • We would need to be careful here, as some words ending in -our drop the 'u' in British English as well as in American English (eg, "colorimeter" and "glamorous"). It would not therefore be a simple case of allowing a bot to run through adding or removing 'u's.
  • Maintaining the status quo raises the very valid objections you mention.
My feeling right now is that we should follow the dual entry approach in most cases, and that color/colour should be the exception and perhaps noted as such. I would think that if this is the case and there are ample entries like bonzer barbie fair dinkum sheila / clink geordie scouse / Jayhawk Tar Heel etc., any issues with color/colour should (ahem) fade. If we can handle the dazzling polylingualism that gives Wiktionary a good deal of its unique flavo(u)r, we should be able to handle this.
One more thought. "Flavour" above makes me think that most of these troublesome cases are -or/-our alternations (favo(u)rite comes to mind), along with -er/-re (centre/center, but not meter/metre as meter covers more senses) and -ise/-ize, -ense/-ence. Three points here:
  • Damn those French! :-) Before I get in too much trouble for that, it was actually Noah Webster who deviated from the original French spelling
  • Perhaps these particular endings could be called out and specially noted
  • One way of dealing with he/she, at least in technical writing is to alternate between the two more or less at random. If we take whichever entry happens to get there first as primary, then there should be no systematic bias either way. At this writing flavour and favourite are still open, and there should be all sorts of -ize entries still open. -dmh 13:34, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)
OK, I'm convinced, it's better to keep both entries despite the duplication. I've changed it back. 138.88.214.162 04:03, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Aargh. That was me. I didn't notice I'd been logged out. Ortonmc 04:04, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I'm not convinced. I think it's better to have as few duplication as possible. Probably my bias as an amateur programmer. When two versions of code exist, one will get out of sync and strange errors will start to occur. OTOH, it's not really my problem (not being a native English speaker, thus having no preference for UK, US, AU, CA or whatever more exist, versions of English), as long as people don't get the idea to do the same with the translations. (i.e. adding translations to the non English entries). That would create a problem many times more complicated and it would certainly send users of Wiktionary on a wild goose chase, trying to find out whether the translation they are looking for doesn't happen to have been added under one of the other language entries.Polyglot 11:31, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Good point on the translations. I've removed them from color and added a link to here, in the interest of avoiding duplication. Ortonmc 05:08, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I chose "spectral composition" carefully, then less carefully used the abbreviated form "spectra" in the next definition. While "spectra" is a bit less clear, both subsume black, white, brown, grey and other colours not in the "ROYGBIV" spectrum. I hope the present wording makes this somewhat clearer

Technically a spectrum represents the distribution of intensity by wavelength. How a particular spectral composition will be perceived depends on the spectrum itself, the person perceiving it, and the colours nearby. But as a general rule, "black" colours will tend to have faint spectra, "red" colours will have spectra prominent at the red end, and so forth.

This is a classic case of the careful technical definition being somewhat at odds with intuition. Black and white are special-cased, and if one is asked to "think of a colour" it will likely be red, green, yellow or blue. This is part of the universal structure of human colour perception. Prototypical colours strongly stimulate the receptors in the eye.

There is a hierarchy of colour names in the worlds langauges, first expounded by Berlin and Kay in Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution:

  1. white and black
  1. red
  1. {green, yellow}
  1. blue
  1. brown.
  1. {purple, pink, orange, grey}

All languages have words for black and white, and will not have any other name on the list without having all preceding terms -- the curly braces indicate equal precedence, e.g., a langauage may name white, black, red and green or white, black, green and yellow, but will not name blue without naming white, black, red, green and yellow.

-dmh 13:22, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)

While looking over the appendix listing colours, I noticed "charcoal" -- definitely a shade of grey, but I would tend to think it's regarded as a colour anyway ("she was wearing a charcoal-coloured jumper"). It seems that white, black and possibly grey are special-cased as non-colours. But you can still say "What colour is the wall? White/black." without having to say "It wasn't any colour. It was white/black."

Basta

-dmh 13:59, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The answer to the question "Are black, white and grey colours?" depends on what is meant by "colour". The current second definition in the article says that colour is "[a] particular set of visible spectral compositions, perceived or named as a class". If you take this definition, then the answer to the question is "yes", as white is the class of spectral compositions consisting of all visible frequencies at high intensity; black is the same at low intensity; and greys are shades in between. ("High" and "low" can be made more precise here by defining them as causing a retinal response respectively above or below a certain threshold.)
The other definition is that of hue or chromaticity. In colour science, this is corresponds to a particular frequency of light irrespective of its intensity (brightness) or lightness. Thus, the hue called "blue" is a colour. It may be more or less bright, and more or less light or dark, but still remains blue. This does not apply to black, white and greys, which are equal mixes of all visible frequencies of light and so have no hue. The answer to the question is then "no".
Careful there, you could miss out brown and other colours without strong single peaks. At the end of the day, colour comes down to how light stimulates our colour receptors (and how the visual system adjusts that input).
Also, belated apologies to Hippietrail for assuming "transatlantic" instead of "transpacific" above. -dmh 13:00, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
So the "correct" answer to the question comes down to which meaning of colour is intended. I think most people would understand the first sense. If I asked someone what colour they are painting their walls, and they said "white", I would not say "But white is not a colour!"
I am therefore going to modify the note in the list of colours about achromaticity to this effect. (Looking at that page, I see it has already been done. I've modified sense 3 of "colour" to this effect.) -- Paul G 09:49, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Looks good. Thanks.

-dmh 13:03, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)



As a proof-of-concept, I've added some pages under my user page illustrating how to keep one common article with disambiguations and redirections. This may not be the final word, but I believe that it should work. Here are the entry points

  • user:dmh/color_colour Common content. Links for colored and coloured are to user:dmh/colored_coloured. I didn't change the other links, so they still point to the main articles.
  • user:dmh/color(non-English) Spanish entry for color
  • user:dmh/color disambiguation page
  • user:dmh/colour Redirect to user:dmh/color_colour
  • user:dmh/colored_coloured Common content. Links back to user:dmh/color_colour
  • user:dmh/colored Redirect to user:dmh/colored_coloured
  • user:dmh/coloured Redirect to user:dmh/colored_coloured

-dmh 19:22, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

New idea being tested. April 2006.Edit

Connel is doing some work on allowing one set of translations to apply to two spelling vvariants. See Wiktionary:Project - Keeping Translations Common and Synchronised Across Different Spellings.

Also, see Wiktionary:Spelling Variants in Entry Names - Draft Policy

templateEdit

Why are the translations in a template? What is that? Mallerd 22:11, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Because they are very likely to be the same for colour and color, this is the best, most neutral, solution for this problem that we have yet found. Conrad.Irwin 00:44, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Intransitive verb?Edit

I would like to challenge this status. Or at least the given example. Just because a verb in a particular context doesn't take an object, doesn't automatically qualify it as instransive. For example, I would consider "My son loves to colour" to be "My son loves to colour [something(s)]" because it is just saying the son enjoys that activity (regardless of what he may be colouring). To say "things" would be no more specific so it is redundant and ommitted. You can construe any verb to be instransitive by that construction. The verb "to hit" is clearly always transitive, but to say "My son loves to hit [people/things]" also looks correct (I'm not sure if it's good English though), even though it lacks an object. - Estoy Aquí 17:18, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I (from the UK) would say that sense two should be at colour in - I am not sure the definition applies without the in. Also sense three can be extended to the intransitive "she coloured" == "she blushed". I agree with you that defining an transitive verb without an object as intransitive is needlessly duplicitous, but I don't think that is what was intended here. Conrad.Irwin 00:54, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes I was also thinking "colour in" was better. I agree that sense three is certainly intransitive, but I still think that even if it were "colour in" that it's still technically transitive. - Estoy Aquí 19:01, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. You can colour with markers, pastels, or crayons. And I have just used colour intransitively, without any required object. Not all verbs have such a transitive/intransitive pair; consider listen as almost exclusively intransitive, or hinder which is almost exclusively transitive. Among those verbs that do have a frequent transitive/intransitive interchange, sometimes the intransitive form is dominant (such as with walk). --EncycloPetey 02:44, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Tea room discussionEdit

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

What word(s) was or were used in Old English for the concept of colour before the Romance word was imported? It seems that Dutch also has a romance word for this concept. Did both languages formerly have cognates of farb/farg? Are there any cognates remaining in more obscure English or Dutch words? — hippietrail 00:24, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Bosworth-Toller gives hiw, heow, hiow, heō. This does seem to be related to ModE hue. (Wiktionary gives hīew for this etymology. Dunno the source of that spelling.) —Leftmostcat 00:33, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
OED gives most of the above forms (including "hiew"), which are indeed the origins of modern "hue". It also notes that hue and colour were treated as identical through the 16th century, so this looks to be the answer we're looking for. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 20:26, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

after edit conflict:

Are hue and dye dead ends? DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 00:36, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Last modified on 5 April 2009, at 14:58