It is not brown or beige, it is khaki!

06-03-2005

!!!NOTICE!!! In order to properly view letters from the Czech alphabet it is necessary to set your browser to Central European languages (ISO).

Ahoj and welcome to this week's edition of ABC of Czech. In this week's programme we're talking about colours, but not just any colours.

Have you ever overheard or had a conversation about whether something is beige - béžový or brown - hnědý, and in the end been told it's just khaki - khaki? You don't suffer from colour blindness - barvoslepost! You aren't colour blind - barvoslepý! Barva meaning colour, slepý meaning blind. There are just a lot more colours out there than we find in the rainbow - duha.

Let's find out whether Czechs agree on the colour of khaki. As it turns out there seems to be more confusion and disagreement in Czech over the colour khaki than in English. For the colour khaki you can say just khaki but khaki can also mean a military uniform. Khaki poses a problem because not only does no one agree on it but grammatically it is hard to turn khaki - as a foreign word, originally Hindi - into a Czech adjective. Czech has a few ways of avoiding the use of khaki as an adjective. Dressed in khaki - oblečený v khaki or perhaps better is the expression a uniform of khaki colour - stejnokroj barvy khaki. The colour khaki can also be described as hnědožlutý - brownish yellow or žlutohnědý - yellowish brown.

These two words hnědožlutý and žlutohnědý are both compound adjectives. When compounds are formed in Czech, there is usually an -o- placed in between the two words, like in the name of the former Czechoslovakia - Československo, the word for colour blind - barvoslepý or black and white film - černobílý film. Compound adjectives are common with colours, especially with the ones that require describing.

Beige is always - béžový, which is the same as in English, except it has been transliterated into Czech. As it turns out the word for tan is žlutohnědý - yellowish brown. And it does not stop there. The colour of gold - zlato can also be described as žlutohnědý. Usually gold - zlato is described as zlatý. Though it does not seem so at first glance, the word golden - pozlacený is derived from the word zlato. And finally on the subject of gold, zlato in Czech is a favourite term for addressing the one you love. Thanks for joining us. Until next time! Na shledanou!

06-03-2005