How English Describes Colour Vs How Chinese Describes Colour

How English describes colour vs how Chinese describes colour

Here's a fascinating visualisation created by Muyueh Lee that shows the differences between how the English language and Chinese language each describe colours. On the left, you can see the number of English names for colour hues (there's a lot!) and on the right, the number of Chinese names (there's a little!).

The above images show:

The Hue-Saturation-Lightness (HSL) model is a 3D model that can be projected on a 2D space.

Using Hue as an angle, we can set either Saturation as the radius

Even more interesting are the images below though. This is where Lee shows the amount of words each language has for each 'base' colour. You can see the top three described colours in English are blue, green and pink vs the most popular colours in Chinese are red, blue and green.

Lee compares and points out more differences on his site here. It all raises the interesting mind exercise question on whether speaking a certain language allows you to "see" more colour (since there are more descriptions).

How English describes colour vs how Chinese describes colour
How English describes colour vs how Chinese describes colour

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