Template talk:table:colors

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RFD discussion[edit]

Copied from Template talk:list:basic colors/en. I believe this RFD discussion is of interest here too, since that was just the previous incarnation of the current template. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 08:08, 19 September 2015 (UTC)

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Template:list:basic colors/en[edit]

Inherent POV. There is no definition on what a "basic color" is, so this can never be neutral. -- Liliana 12:09, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

True, but it is a useful list. Can anyone think of a more neutral name? — Ungoliant (Falai) 05:44, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Some things aren't inherently neutral, we just keep editing them until we're happy with them. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:00, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Well then, why is purple a "basic color" but not brown or pink? -- Liliana 11:57, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Because nobody added brown and pink to the list yet?
Also, the template could be renamed to Template:list:colors/en, for example, if people think it should.
--Daniel 12:34, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
It is one of those things where you could legitimately add and remove things forever. Undoubtedly some color names are more well known than others, but where do you draw the line? But... is that enough of a reason to delete it? Mglovesfun (talk) 13:02, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
I would consider a colour basic when it belongs to the core vocabulary and is morphologically simple. Something like 'sky-blue' clearly isn't basic. This can differ by language, too. In many languages, the term for 'blue' is not a basic colour, instead they use grue. —CodeCat 13:15, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
So you'd have red, magenta and fuchsia all as basic colors? -- Liliana 13:17, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
I would consider red a basic colour. But magenta and fuchsia are more rare and they're not the kind of colour every speaker (particularly, every child) is expected to know, so they are not core vocabulary. —CodeCat 13:19, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
If we wanted more neutral lists of colours... well, there's the RYB primary and secondary subtractive colours: red, yellow, blue, orange, purple, green, which are what people (at least in the West) will usually think of as the basic colours - black, white, grey and perhaps brown would be uncontroversial additions to the list. There'd be a few problems with translating that to other languages - famously, lots of Asian languages use the same word for what we'd call blue and green - but it's a reasonable start. Alternatively, if we don't want to make any decision about what "basic" means, we can use the standard anthropological list of "basic colours", from Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution - for English, that's black, white, grey, red, yellow, green, blue, brown, orange, pink and purple. There are scientific papers examining the basic colour terms in lots of languages, so it wouldn't be too hard to adapt for other languages. Smurrayinchester (talk) 10:29, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
Template:list:basic colors/ja (for instance) doesn't have to be a word-for-word translation of Template:list:basic colors/en, does it? If a language has the same word for blue and green, just leave that word.
Also, "black,‎ blue,‎ brown,‎ gray,‎ green,‎ orange,‎ pink,‎ purple,‎ red,‎ white,‎ yellow" looks perfect. (I added pink and brown to the template now) Are there any colors whose presence or absence in a "basic list" in English would be controversial, really? I'm not thinking of any. --Daniel 11:55, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
Keep. See w:Color_term#Basic_color_terms for a description of how basic colors work. This is a useful category for people interested in basic colors in various languages. --BB12 (talk) 09:25, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Kept for no consensus. --ElisaVan (talk) 14:35, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Colour system[edit]

Why this particular colour system? Is it based solely on which colours have single-word names in English? Many languages have very different concepts of what constitutes a basic colour, and what is a basic colour term in one language can encompass several basic terms in another; cf. the discussion at the World Atlas of Language Structures: [1]. What should be done with the languages that have composite terms that mean e.g. Black/Green/Blue or White/Red/Yellow instead of having distinctions between such colours? Or with languages that have further basic distinctions not made in English (e.g. Russian синий vs. голубой)? Vorziblix (talk) 10:54, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

Cyan is a strange one to include: it's basically never used outside of computing and printing. Equinox 18:42, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

How about teal? (I added it because otherwise there would be six colors on top and five on the bottom) —suzukaze (tc) 08:12, 18 September 2015 (UTC)
My 2 cents: IMO, the table format allows for more colors than just the basic colors. I would not object to adding teal, indigo, magenta, perhaps others to the same table. That said, if we want to aim at a strictly basic set of colors and cyan is the only odd one out, having a table with 11 colors would not look so bad. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 08:13, 19 September 2015 (UTC)
Sky blue/azure is a basic colour separate from (dark) blue in a number of languages, and might make more sense than cyan or teal, which AFAIK are not basic in any language. Vorziblix (talk) 12:32, 19 September 2015 (UTC)
I like sky blue. —suzukaze (tc) 00:12, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
@Vorziblix, @suzukaze-c Added sky blue. I've kept cyan (which was added by Suzukaze) and added teal, too, but would you rather remove any of those? IMO the more colors/shades the better. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 19:07, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Celtic Languages[edit]

How is this going to address glas/uaine? Or oráiste/flannbhuí? (I assume the latter is simple enough, both terms meaning "orange". Ish. Different shades of orange, but still.)

As it is, for Scottish Gaelic, it's already simplistic to the point of actively misleading.

The colours in the Gaelic languages, at least, simply don't fit into this table as it is.

It does seem to work for the Heraldic tinctures, though: gules, tenné, Or, vert, azure, celeste/ purpure, rose, sanguine, sable, gris, argent.

--Catsidhe (verba, facta) 21:59, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

@Catsidhe: I speak nothing of Celtic languages. Can oráiste/flannbhuí fit together into orange? Maybe we could add qualifiers in text, like (darker) and (lighter)? glas is defined as "green (of grass, trees, etc.)"/"grey (of sheep, horses, cloth, wool, etc.; of eyes)", since that's a bit more complex, we could add in the table something like "see entry for details". --Daniel Carrero (talk) 13:39, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
Celtic languages are much harder. Oráiste is a very recent development: technically it's the name of the fruit, and the colour is dath oráiste "orange colour" in the dictionaries, but in places like Duolingo and around the web it's become the colour as well (noun and adjective). (You can find the Irish flag described as "uaine, bán agus flannbhuí", as described in the constitution, "glas, bán agus oráiste", and variations. There's a good discussion of the problem with the colour orange, with an aside on green, in http://irelandhouse.fas.nyu.edu/docs/CP/4172/0017-0026_WhatColorIsAnOrange.pdf: TL;DR: both flannbhuí and oráiste are new developments (within the last hundred years or so), and before that the colour was a shade of buí.) Just as Russian has a primary colour name for blue and light blue, Celtic distinguishes between green and light/bright green. (Or: natural green and artificial green, which is harder to fit into a table.) The colour on the chart is, I think, at the glas end of green, where this is more uaine. Although I suspect many native speakers would disagree with each other.
Or: it's really hard, and it would be easier to have a table with undisputed glas (or a range for it) and uaine, than to force the Gaelic colour system onto a table for which it's not well suited. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 21:32, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
@Catsidhe I've thought of a couple of suggestions based on your explanation:
  1. First of all, you said "Or: it's really hard, and it would be easier to have a table with undisputed glas (or a range for it) and uaine, than to force the Gaelic colour system onto a table for which it's not well suited" and I'm cool with it if you want to create a separate table for Gaelic languages.
  2. Or: Maybe you can use color boxes in the same cell of the current color template, the "green" cell:
  3. Or we can just add "lime" to the table too, since it had "cyan" for a while and after I created the discussion #What colors should the table have?, I added "magenta" and "teal" to the table. I repeat a point I said elsewhere, that in my opinion the table format allows for more colors, not just the "basic" ones. It can have a number of different more specific shades, especially if that helps one or more languages. Feel free to disagree with me, though.
--Daniel Carrero (talk) 12:27, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

What colors should the table have?[edit]

Colors in Undetermined · {{{group}}} (layout · text)
{{{red}}} {{{orange}}} {{{yellow}}} {{{green}}} {{{blue}}} {{{teal}}} {{{sky blue}}} {{{cyan}}}
{{{brown}}} {{{purple}}} {{{magenta}}} {{{pink}}} {{{salmon}}} {{{white}}} {{{gray}}} {{{black}}}

This is one example of a table that would have more colors than it has now. What colors can we add/subtract? --Daniel Carrero (talk) 23:22, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

I fear that pink and salmon might be too similar. —suzukaze (tc) 02:40, 21 September 2015 (UTC)


I feel like the brown is too red. Could it be changed to this? —suzukaze (tc) 02:38, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

About the brown too red: I completely agree with you; I should mention that it was just the "background: brown" from CSS but that was not the best shade of brown ever. Maybe I'm nitpicking a bit, but I was comparing some possible shades of brown and I'd use "saddlebrown", which is a bit darker than rgb(166,101,13) and IMO that is an improvement; I'm testing saddlebrown now in this diff. Feel free to discuss/change further. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 10:27, 21 September 2015 (UTC)


I never understood why the Internet/Web colour "lime" is a super-bright luminous green. That's nothing like a real-life lime fruit, and I doubt it's how people use the term outside of computing contexts either. Equinox 00:32, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

It's a separate color in some language (see above). DTLHS (talk) 00:53, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

Table layout[edit]

Georgian version is unusable. Is there any easy way to apply bootstrap-ish grid system to this?

Also, colors should be optional other languages may lack many of the colors.--Dixtosa (talk) 18:10, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Except for few rare cases it would be hard to prove that a language certainly has no name for a given color. It is, however, possible that the word is unknown. For that purpose I have fixed the template. Now passing an empty value to a parameter marks it as unknown/non-existent: the name is not displayed. -- wikimpan (Talk) 09:40, 29 March 2018 (UTC)