Re: Amber vs Orange

Subject: Re: Amber vs Orange
From: Bill Burns <WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 1995 16:43:04 MDT

Carl Miller asks:

"Do other languages translate amber to mean 'more yellowish than orange,
but definitely not yellow?'"

Some other culture don't even have the same color CONCEPTS that we do, let alone
words that transfer over directly. I'll see if I can pull some examples for
you, but right now I'm sitting among my technical manuals rather than my
linguistics notes.

The derivation of the word (Old French/Latin) suggests that it probably won't
be in the vocabulary of many basic ESL readers. (Not all of them have basic
English vocabularies, mind you.) However, some terms you can define in context
so they are clearly understandable.

EXAMPLE:

Press the amber indicator labeled "_____."

NOTE: "Amber" is a yellow-orange color (closer to yellow than orange)
that is used to signal cautions or warnings.

Obviously, the readers will have to be familiar with the terms "caution" and
"warning" to understand this definition. You might even be able to provide
hints such as "the color of the middle light on a traffic signal." Granted,
this approach doesn't seem very technical, but intertextuality is sometimes
the only way to cross over cultural barriers. (If the readers don't drive
either, I'm out of suggestions. . .for now.)

Bill Burns *
Assm. Technical Writer/Editor * "Purgamentum init,
Micron Technology, Inc. * exit purgamentum."
Boise, ID *
WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM * Henricus Barbatus


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