Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Linguistics Question

In English, orange is both a fruit and a color. And in other languages, it seems, the two words have similarly related etymologies. In Vietnamese, cam also serves as a noun and an adjective, in the same way that naranja does in Spanish, neratzi does in Greek, and orenji does in Japanese.

According to the ever-trusty Wikipedia, the color is named for the fruit. How, then, did oranges become the universal swatch for the pigment? The fruit doesn't even naturally grow in all parts of the globe; it was originally exported from East Asia to the Middle East, then to the Americas. Why not "carrot," or "mango," or "curry powder," or "clownfish"?

I spend way too much time thinking about the most inane things.

1 comment:

erica said...

I like curry powder.

I hate linguistics.