• Marina


Обновлено: 1 мар. 2019 г.

Nothing seems difficult in the word “blue”, unless you’re Russian. In my native language we have two words for this colour — light blue, pronounced “goluboy”, and dark blue, pronounced “siniy”. The distinction between these two are like the difference between “green” and “violet” for English speakers.

When I hear “the sky was blue”, I fail to imagine this sky. Was it morning “goluboy” or an afternoon/closer-to-evening “siniy”? A friend saying “I bought blue jeans” is confusing me too, as a Russian I want to know which shade of blue those jeans are. And it’s getting more complicated when you talk about art. If I could add a new word to English I would choose “siniy” (as for some reason I often translate “blue” as “goluboy”).

I’m curious to know if the language you speak can affect how you see the world. Once I read a study made in the USA with groups of English speakers and Russian-English bilinguals. Russians in these tests were able to distinguish more shades of blue than English natives did. Those experiments were made on a group of just 50 people, so I’m not sure if this information is reliable, but I like to think that Russians see more shades of blue.

I also wonder why in Russia we have two words for blue. My theory is that the winter here is very long and most of the year we see the world around us in blue and grey shades. We also have many more words to describe cold snowy weather. It’s interesting how our surroundings and language can shape our experience and the way we see the world.

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