Wednesday, 18 January 2017


The colours...

Mirëdita, and welcome to the most colourful discussion. What has always surprised me is that in Albanian, the colours either have some irregular forms, or have 2-3 words for it, or some are with and some without linking articles. So I've decided to sum up at least the most popular ones and what I've found about them.

To be honest, the first song that comes into my mind when I think about the colours in Albanian is this one:

That's a beautiful lady that loves the red and it fits her... well, it's a love song, what's interesting is that it's actually an Adrian Gaxha and Floriani's song that I can understand (these two are Macedonians, and their Albanian in some songs are even more awkward sounding to me than some Kosovar singers).

Also, Albanians love the colours! Or at least they love singing about them - if you hear any version of "kuq e zi", that's a patriotic song to do something with their flag. Actually, I know and I've lived with so many people from different nationalities for more than 3 years, and the Albanians are the only people that are so patriotic - if you see someone posting pictures of their country flag in Facebook, that's 95% of the cases an Albanian. I don't say it's a bad thing, I actually find it cool, as we don't do that, and actually try to avoid mentioning being from Eastern Europe, if possible (don't get me wrong, I love the Balkans, they're a part of me and I grew up there, just there are far too many prejudices in the Western Europe regarding us. It even happened to me once a client to tell me that I don't look like Eastern European, which somehow should have been a compliment, but sounded extremely awkward. The media here sometimes writes so many things that are not true, but some people believe it). Being patriotic seems like it's a really good way of teaching your children to respect and love their country, so hands up! It happens rarely these days.

Back to the colours. I've tried to make the colours represent the words, but Blogger has rather limited colour usage (and some, like white, are grayish for the reason of actually allowing you to read it, and not blending it with my background). Anyway, I believe you'll get my idea, although the orange is no really orange, huh.

White - i/e bardhë, that's an easy one - normal class 2 (with a linking article) adjective, just like any other of that group.

Green - i/e gjelbër, jeshil/e - this one is an interesting one. It has two forms, and jeshil is a Turkish word as far as I know. They are used interchangeably, but it's a lot more popular to hear jeshil in all green vegetables and food-related stuff (like spec jeshil, sallatë jeshile etc) than it is to hear i/e gjelbër. On one side jeshil it's actually easier to use than i/e gjelbër, as it doesn't have a linking article to think about!

Red - i kuq/e kuqe - this one has two forms, one for masculine and one for the feminine. I've met crimson as i kuq i thellë (literally, deep red), so I think that's how they describe the different shades of it. I don't know/haven't met yet the lighter version of it though. What's interesting is that they have so many words for one colour, yet a combination of words is used for the shades.

Blue - blu, i/e kaltër. I believe "i/e kaltër" is used for the colour light/sky blue, whereas blu is for any other darker version. There is also a verb, kaltëroj, I make blue. I wonder who needs to use that, if not when you're colouring something? I, personally, haven't stumbled upon it, except in the dictionary. Blu seems familiar, doesn't it? I think it's one of these "international" words you can find in many languages. I've also met gurkali as a word, which is turquoise. (even the dictionary describes it as blue-green).

Yellow - i/e verdhë - a colour that personally has given me so much hard time remembering it (just as shtatë for seven, not six, but I'll write about that some other time), as in the Romance languages, verde/vert is actually green. And that one sounds so close that hmm... well, I felt really awkward thinking about it as yellow, not green.

Purple - lejla, i/e purpurte, i/e vjollcë - that one is the favourite for the award of "so many words for the same thing". I believe that these three could actually represent some different shades of the purple (like violet etc), but hmm, every book gives a different example of this colour. But, on the other hand, the more, the better!

Pink - rozë - I've actually seen the world "pebma" too (but never heard it anywhere). Seems like the pink in many languages comes from the word for "rose", although in Albanian, rose is actually trëndafil.

Grey - gri, i/e hirtë - gri is rather international word (met in a few other languages), whereas i/e hirtë seems to be its Albanian version. I've actually heard gri used more, for different things.

Brown - kafe - that one is pretty straightforward, all you have to remember is how to say coffee in Albanian. Please note that whereas the coffee can have 2 different stresses (kafe and kafe), the colour seems to have it only on the a. The word "bezhë" also exists, to describe the "beige" colour (seems like it's an international word, just made to sound Albanian).

Orange - portokalli - oh, that cool feature about orange (the fruit) and orange (the colour) having the same word! The only difference though is that in portokalli (the colour), the stress is on the I, whether in portokall (the fruit) it's on a. As the word for the fruit is the same in my native language, and a few others as well, so I've read that it came from Portugal, where that fruit was first imported in Europe from. Interesting!

Black - i zi/e zezë - again irregular one with different forms for feminine/masculine. But luckily has only one word for it, so learning the both forms shouldn't be a problem.

Also, there are some colours deriving from the colours of some things, like golden (i/e artë, from ar - gold), silver (argjend), brick, also the red of the bricks (tullë) and so on. Kafe also comes from the colour of the coffee, which is usually brown.

So that's it from me today, hope you enjoyed my post. I believe there may be many more colours, or words for colours I haven't mentioned, so I don't believe these are all - they are just some examples I've found interesting.

Ditën e mirë, shkruajmë më vonë!

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