Talk:Color/Archive 4

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Incorrect spelling

I just thought i would mention the word 'colour' is mispelled throughout this page. I would change the page but i dont know how!—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

What do you mean, mispelled? The article is consistently written in US-EN, following wp:mos. --Dirk Beetstra T C 21:47, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
I just thought I would mention that the word "misspelled" is misspelt in the preceding comments. I would change the first commenter's mind, but I don't know how! – Noetica 22:09, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Noetica if you change user comments you are vandalising the page and will be reported to Wikipedia.

Don't be silly, anonymous unsigned editor. I expressed no intention to change any user comment. Read, understand, smile, then go and do something else. – Noetica 21:51, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree that this page should be named according to English English, not American. You have to imagine that American spelling is not the English spelling. --Wizzard 01:14, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

You mean, American English is not a variant of English?? The language is called English because England was the first region to have it. Georgia guy 15:22, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Georgia guy, in your edit summary you call that a "response to Noetica". Is that simply a mistake? I can't see how you are responding to anything I wrote. – Noetica 23:36, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Ok, we've been over this

  • The word is not mispelled
  • It was started in American English so the whole article has to be in American English
  • Any edits that are used just to change it to British English are considered vandalism
  • Just a note: British english isn't called english english - enlish was actually brought to England by the Germans - could you guys do some research instead of making completely inaccurate responses?
  • Uhh ... anything else?
  • Oh - could you actually look at previous discussions considering we've had this convo a number of times
  • That's it. --Daniel()Folsom T|C|U 01:17, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
This would be very easy to fix. Just modify Wikipedia with a list of known American English (mis)spellings and have to automatically translate every page depending on who is viewing. How do you know if the viewer prefers British/Canadian/Australian/American/etc English? Easy, look at the User Agent string the browser sends (which often includes preferred language encoding, en-GB for me, see, look at the referer ( etc), look at the users preferences or look at what the user searched for (colour etc). Mojo-chan 21:16, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
This idea has been discussed and rejected numberous times, just look in the archives of this page.Daniel()Folsom |\T/|\C/|\U/|(Can you help me with my signature?) 00:44, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
PS English is not a German invention. It is an original language of the British Isles, which was born from elements of other languages brought in by invaders, such as French, German, Latin etc. Please also understand that American spelling is not a trivial thing for many people - text does not scan well when there are spelling mistakes, which is what they look like to us. Mojo-chan 21:19, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
According to our English language page, quote, "English is an Anglo-Frisian language brought to southeastern Great Britain in the 5th century AD by Germanic settlers from various parts of northwest Germany (Saxons, Angles) as well as Jutland (Jutes)."
Another thing, there are many differences of spellings in the American/English language - you'll notice that while some articles use the American spelling, for example this one, some use the British spellings, i.e. Yoghurt (Yogurt by American spellings). And frankly if you have troulbe realizing that "color" is the same as "colour" than you need to work up on your reading (I have no problem reading the yogHurt page). I mean seriously? Drama Queen much?Daniel()Folsom |\T/|\C/|\U/|(Can you help me with my signature?) 00:44, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Frankly, this argument is extremely two sided; perhaps instead of looking from an English vs. American point of view, we could try and use international spelling, which is, still, thank goodness, the language of the commonwealth. Regardless of the origins of the English language, it is more correct to use the full and proper language. Any American dialect is only a simplification of the true language. As an international organisation, surely we should still use the internationally correct spellings? Daniel563 06:25, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Wrong again, for multiple reasons that have been mentioned.
  • There is no such thing as an international english
  • British English actually used to use this spelling anyway - so really British English would be a simplification of the English the Germans brought to the west indies.
Can we stop doing this now, the manual of style says we should use color. Either argue with taht on their talk page, or suck it up.Daniel()Folsom |\T/|\C/|\U/|(Can you help me with my signature?) 13:50, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Color naming

The following struck me as odd:

Apart from the black-grey-white continuum, English splits some hues into several distinct colors according to lightness: such as red and pink or orange and brown. To English speakers, these pairs of colors, which are objectively no more different from one another than light green and dark green, are conceived as totally different.

For orange and brown, this makes sense. But pink has always seemed to be simply a shade of red to me. Without a citation, it might be a good idea just to remove the mentions of pink/red. --Yath 07:38, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I would disagree with it for a different reason. Red and pink differ primarily in saturation, not lightness. Whether we conceieve of them differently, they have different category names. So do olive and green and lots of other pairs of more subtle distinctions. But don't just remove the red/pink thing; look for a reference for the brown/orange, and see what is actually said. Dicklyon 08:07, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
What are "category names"? --Yath 12:17, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
The names we use to refer to regions in a perceptual space, such as color. The concept of "categorical perception" means we cut up the space into categories, often in a language-dependent or culture-dependent way. Orange and brown are different categories, as evidenced by the fact that we have different names for them. Dicklyon 17:51, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
I think the article is overreaching here. Just because there are different names doesn't mean that they are considered "totally different" in every case. I'll tag it and see if someone comes up with a citation. --Yath 22:28, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree. We need to summarize what a reliable source says. The first two here look pretty good. Dicklyon 00:01, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

(resetting indent) Sorry, I'm just coming back to wikipedia after a long work-related break. The classic reference for these sorts of categorical color distinctions, and how they are reflected in language is Berlin and Kay (1969). You can find a load of papers published on the culturally based categorical distinctions in color naming here: In general, it is only in languages with a full set of basic color terms (11 terms) that make a linguistic distinction between brown and orange, but this does seeem to have some psychological reality for these people. Incidentally, I find it somewhat POV to refer to the Berlin and Kay study as "somewhat dated" as if that in some way makes it inaccurrate, or less important. Indeed, given that it was the first study on this topic, and the one which all subsequent work has been built on, perhaps "classic" is a better term. I'll make some quick mods, and then you can work on it more later. Edhubbard 08:06, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

In the first sentence I noticed that white was listed as a color (colour). Isn't white a shade though? --Blackmage337 21:39, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Next to the spelling of the world color/colour, asking whether black and white are colours is the surest way of starting a long running argument. White could be described as a mixture of all colours (as in white noise on a FM radio), while black could be described as the absence of colour. No doubt other people will have their opinions on this, but that is my take. --Ianmacm 22:01, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Color Colour

I must say, the arguments on this page are extremly comical. I mean seriously, this article could have (color)(colour) EVERYTIME the word was mentioned - and you'd have thousands of "INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH SHOULD COME 1ST - NOT AMERICAN ENGLISH" comments.--Daniel()Folsom T|C|U 23:04, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Only by people who are ignorant enough to think there's such a thing as "international English". --Truth About Spelling 23:16, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

lol--XMBRIAN 20:47, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Is there a way it can be set up so when you are redirected from colour to color it does a find-replace and gives you a whole page of colour? That would make everyone happy. - unregistered person who doesn't like American spelling.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I assume no, becasue the word "color" is used in other articles - meaning everytime you'd have to access those articles - you'd have tod o the find and replace thing. And then you also have words like yogurt/yoghurt (where the article name is yoghurt) (and plenty of others). so essentially you'd be setting up an entire British/American encyclopedia for one letter. For now you can greive for the aborted "u".Daniel()Folsom T|C|U 05:04, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
One can also thank Noah Webster for returning the spelling of color to the one Shakespeare preferred. (Though a lot of Webster's other modifications were a bit screwy, to be sure.) --Truth About Spelling 22:00, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

There is a Wikipedia article on International English. And the issue of "American spelling" is not spelling rather as much as a form of English. Being that English is spoken in separate parts of the world, one can only assume that they might see different things and have different experiences, which we might give word for.--Blackmage337 20:25, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

So you think 1) the existence of a Wikipedia article on a topic means the subject of the article has a clear referent? (And, by the way, did you read the article? It makes it clear that "International English" does NOT refer to one thing at all!), and 2) that it makes sense to "give word for" what a HUGE diversity of different cultures share, which is little more than "not being X"? (X being American.) Both 1 and 2 seem quite odd to me. To repeat: there is no such thing as "International English". There is, though, such a thing as non-American Englishes, non-British Englishes, non-Indian Englishes, etc. --Truth About Spelling 21:49, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
The real question... who cares? 02:15, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
The real answer is before your very eyes. --Truth About Spelling 19:01, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Change it to "colour" why cant you people see that this is the correct spelling. This is not the American Wikipedia. Rocks Lotus 08:51, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

I think that the English used by everybody, EXCEPT the Americans, should be used! Klodz 12:40, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

A)There are other countries that use American spelling
B)America dominates as far as population goes, thus negating you everybody but the americans
C)British speling used to use color before they changed it to colour
D)this has been decided by the manual of style, there are pages with Br. spelling, and there are pages with Eng. spelling - you go with the first spelling used when the article is written unless the subject can be isolated from America/England - in which case you would use the spelling of the country it is connected to. Either debate the rule on the wp:mos talk page, or cry yourself to sleep because you have to read color without the u.Daniel()Folsom |\T/|\C/|\U/|(Can you help me with my signature?) 13:55, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Comment about clarity

This is how the page looked on 30 January 2007:

To summarize, the color of an object is a complex result of its surface properties, its transmission properties, and its emission properties, all of which factors contribute to the mix of wavelengths in the light leaving the surface of the object. The perceived color is then further conditioned by the nature of the ambient illumination, and by the color properties of other objects nearby (see the article Color constancy); and finally, by the permanent and transient characteristics of the perceiving eye and brain.

-- i don't get this, do you ?

Although users should not add comments to the main article, the user has a point. This paragraph is diffuse and rambling and it does not contain a clear meaning. Let's have a rewrite here.--Ianmacm 19:25, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

A tag has been added to the page requesting that technical details be made clearer for a non-specialist reader. The paragraph above is essentially technobabble, while other parts of the article make excessive use of specialized terms. A balance needs to be struck between making the article authoratitive, while remaining accessible to the average reader.--Ianmacm 22:53, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

OK, I'll comment on Ianmacm's comment above, which begins by citing an anonymous user's remark: i don't get this, do you ? (I have just edited out the unintended repetition of the text under discussion, above).
I had a hand in composing the paragraph, and I would defend it as accurate, clear, well connected with what comes before and after it, and only as "technical" as the highly technical content and the prevailing style require it to be. If the anonymous user or Ianmacm has trouble understanding it, I would like to know exactly where in the excerpt this problem begins. I think it is reasonable to expect people to put some effort into telling us precisely where the difficulties are, if they expect us to resolve difficulties. So, Ianmcm: How is the text "technobabble"? Which terms, or phrases, are unnecessary jargon? How is the quoted paragraph "diffuse"? Where and how does it begin to ramble? It seems to me to be in sharp focus, not to go off the topic, and not to repeat itself at all. All that said, I do agree that other parts of the article need re-working, and are needlessly technical. And I can say which ones (indeed, I have said which ones). – Noetica 02:00, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I had no trouble understanding it, and I agree that it's clear and correct to someone who already understands this stuff, but I can see how phrases like "further conditioned by the nature of the ambient illumination, and by the color properties of other objects nearby" would be pretty meaningless to someone who hasn't already digested color constancy. Probably smaller simpler more explicit sentences could help here. Dicklyon 03:17, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I took out the tag, and when I tried to put back a {{technical}} tag on just the section with the above-mentioned confusing point, the tag expanded to tell me that it belongs on the talk page, not on the article. So, if someone thinks we need it still, please place it here. Generally, some discussion is as good as a tag. Dicklyon 03:13, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Fine, Dicklyon. But again I would ask this: What is "confusing"? The material is just unavoidably hard! Any summary of all that is relevant to the colour of an object will be difficult for most people to follow. So would any synopsis of any topic in quantum mechanics be difficult for most of us to follow. In the present case, the absence of such a concise summary (far from a "rambling" summary, I submit) would itself leave the reader confused, since several points that needed be drawn together would not be drawn together. – Noetica 04:29, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
What's hard is taking something that's clear and correct to a techie and make it clear and still correct but satisfying to a broader audience. I told you what I think is confusing, but I haven't worked on a better way to say it. It's very likely that it can be improved, which is why I try to keep an open mind when someone tells that something I've carefully crafted to be correct is not clear. I don't believe the material is hard, just somewhat unfamiliar and complicated. Maybe I'll take a whack at it. Dicklyon 04:44, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Sure. Of course I agree that it is often hard to made something that is clear and correct also readily understandable. (I also say that what is "somewhat unfamiliar and complicated" is thereby, in a legitimate sense of the word, hard.) I don't claim that the text in question does its job perfectly – just well. I agree that simpler sentences may help. They often do. We'll see. They may not! – Noetica 05:02, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Simpler sentences very often do help, yet I can't restrain myself from writing complex ones, usually; only after being poked can I see that there might be a problem worth working on. Anyway, take a look and see if I helped it with some clear intro bit and some restructuring, and omitting a few distracting words. (too bad the diff mechanism is so lame, so it's hard to see what I did) Dicklyon 05:23, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the discussion on this. Wikipedia is not a children's book, but nor is it a technical manual for graduates only. A balance has to be struck, and parts of the article Color are in my view too technical. The Wikipedia policy on this issue is stated at Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible.--Ianmacm 08:09, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

As Noetica says, please be very explicit about where the problems are. Dicklyon 15:56, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Having re-read the article several times, it is not my intention to criticise it as substandard in any way. I did agree with the anonymous user yesterday who found the paragraph quoted above hard to follow. I also thought that some of the article tends to read like a a physics text book and to assume that readers will be familiar with this style of writing. For the sake of comparison I had a look at the Britannica on colour to see how it was handled there. Some of it is quite technical, although by and large it is written in fairly straightforward language. The Wikipedia article looks at the physics of colour in a thorough way and it is inevitable that some technical language will be involved. My main belief is that the article should be approachable by non-experts, as Color is a Core Topic for Wikipedia.--Ianmacm 17:13, 31 January 2007 (UTC)


The article currently claims "most people are not able to distinguish" indigo. Surely this is imprecise? Surely if you show most people slides of pure spectral blue and pure spectral indigo (according to some reasonable definitions thereof) they would be able to tell the difference. I mean, surely we can see plenty of minute gradiations; it's not like we can only see a few gross categories.

So what is meant by that statement? And how can we express it more clearly? Doops | talk 22:43, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

People just think of indigo as "deep blue-violet". Few people use the color term indigo apart from its inclusion in ROYGBIV. Georgia guy 22:45, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Such a situation would best be described by the sentence "most people do not distinguish indigo", not "most people are not able to distinguish" it. Doops | talk 07:46, 11 February 2007 (UTC)


I've heard of color being spelled kuller in some countries, should this be mentioned?

No. Your one mention of it is more than enough! –Noetica 23:09, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, okay! Sheesh, just trying to contribute some. 23:11, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Don't let 'im scare you off. If you can find a legit source for this - and it's used in enough english speaking countries, then go ahead and mention it in that area where it says "or colour, see spelling dif.."). Daniel()Folsom T|C|U 23:16, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Dear anonymous,
I certainly don't want to scare anyone off. You're obviously new here. Some words of advice:
  • Read discussion. In this case you will see that we are plagued by people who have difficulty accepting an agreed spelling, so we have become sensitive about what we see as simply a nuisance.
  • Do get a name, and sign your name, if you want to be taken seriously. I for one would like to take you seriously.
Best wishes,
Noetica 04:28, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Dude, do no such thing, there is absolutely no requirement whatsoever for anyone to sign up for an account. Any editor who refuses to 'take you seriously' has a problem, not you. Cloveoil 11:58, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

color physics

Does anyone know what is physically changing when colors fade as a result of exposure to light? SabrinaKalleeneye 19:59, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Dye molecules break down, usually due to absorption of high-energy (ultraviolet) photons; in their new degraded form, they no longer have the nice wavelength-dependent absorption that made them dyes. Dicklyon 20:27, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

calling wiki referees on Color/Colour brouhaha

This is an important entry, one of the most important in Wikipedia. It is precisely the kind of subject that millions of students will want to look up. And it needs work, from a stylistic perspective.

Yet, the color discussion site is bogged down on the trivial (if entertaining) subject of a small spelling variant (color vs colour) which is the sort of thing that makes the barmy army at Conservapedia go nuts. I don't know the ropes of how everything works, but I believe it is possible to reroute this kind of discussion to some heart-stopping "American vs English" spelling flame fest, where we can read in more detail of how the Germans brought English to America, and how the Whore of Bablyon is trying to get us to spell funny. In the meantime, can we give some breathing and writing room to the people who want to discuss color on this page? Myles325a 04:51, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

As you say, you don't know the ropes. there is this thing called the Manual of Style - and in that, it says EXACTLY what to do in these types of cases. If the article relates to a british subject (say, London), use British English, if the article relates to an American subject, use American English, if the article is not tied directly to the countires, use the first spelling that was used when the article was first built. In this case that would be, color. The reason that the conversations are discouraged is for two reasons:
  • By debating the article's spelling, you're really debating the manual of style, thus the argument should take place on the Manual of Style talk page.
  • Because for a while it wasn't drowned out - have you even seen the archives? There have been way too many discussions related to it.Daniel()Folsom |\T/|\C/|\U/|(Can you help me with my signature?) 20:35, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

At the risk of repeating myself, PLEASE let's not keep filling the talk page with the color/colour dispute. There has been enough said about this for all sides to make their points, including comments in the archive of the page. There is little to be gained by saying it all again, since the consensus is that the page is spelled "Color". I'm not sure if this will stop the debate, but it needed saying as there is more to understanding color/colour than a trivial debate about the inclusion or non-inclusion of the letter u. It is becoming a boring issue, like one of Tweedledum and Tweedledee's arguments.--Ianmacm 21:55, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

LOL There's too much discussion, so let's stop the debate? How about someone points out the relevant section of the Manual of Style? Cloveoil 12:02, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, please archive all the discussion and replace with a clear quote of the policy. Dicklyon 15:12, 29 March 2007 (UTC)