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I’ve been writing these blogs for a few years now and it’s just occured to me that I haven’t done a post on colors. Sure, I did a post on the Thai colors of the day, but that didn’t cover all the colors.
The main colors in Thai are the same colors we use in English. The one exception is that there are two types of blue in Thai – regular blue, and sky blue – and they are considered as different as green and yellow.
In English science class we are taught that there are only three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. By mixing these three colors you can get any other color in the spectrum. In Thai science class students are taught there are five primary colors: red, yellow, blue, white, and black. Scientifically, white is a combination of red, yellow, and blue electromagnetic waves, while black is the absence of color (such as space). The Thai view comes from the artistic concept that mixing red, yellow, and blue paint results in the color black, and an empty sheet of paper with no color is white.
Thai also has other colors equivalent to crimson red, saffron, magenta, metallic blue, etc. – but I won’t be teaching those fancy words here.
The Thai word for color is see5 สี, and this word must precede the color name. The color name works as an adjective to the word ‘color’. For example red is see4 daeng1 สีแดง, green is see5 kiew5 สีเขียว, and black is see5 dum1 สีดำ. You can also be more specific by adding additional adjectives after, such as specifying the shade (awn2 อ่อน for ‘light’, gae2 แก่ for ‘dark’), etc. Dark pink would be see5 chom1puu1 gae2 สีชมพูแก่.
|Primary colors||Mae3 see5||แม่สี|
|Dark||Gae2 / klum4||แก่ / คล้ำ|
|Bright (as in an enhanced color)||Sod2||สด|
|Light (as in a light shade)||Aawn2||อ่อน|
|Sky blue (it’s a commonly used color)||Faa4||ฟ้า|
|Orange (also the name of the fruit)||Som3||ส้ม|
|Brown (also the name of brown sugar)||Nam4dtaan2||น้ำตาล|
|White (*not* spelled nor pronounced like ‘rice’)||Kaow5||ขาว|
|Gold (or ‘blonde’ for hair)||Tawng1||ทอง|