In Cheyenne we cannot simply say "red," "yellow," etc. as color words by themselves. When we say a color, it must be part of a larger Cheyenne word. Words for Cheyenne colors occur in a variety of grammatical formats. For instance, starting with the basic root for 'red,' we can say Émá'o 'It's red,' or Éma'eta 'He's red,' or tsémá'o 'that which is red,' or we can use it as a modifier as in ma'evé'ho'e 'German (literally, red-whiteman).' Here are Cheyenne colors:
(Click on a Listen link or a link under a word to hear the Cheyenne word.)
(Listen) Évó'kómo. It's white.
(Listen) Éheóvo. It's yellow.
(Listen) Émá'o. It's red.
(Listen) Éotá'távo. It's blue.
(Listen) Émo'ôhtávo. It's black.
(Listen) Éhoxo'ôhtsévo. It's green.
(Listen) Éhohkó'so. It's purple.
(Listen) Épó'o. It's gray.
(Listen) Évóhpo. It's light (whitish or grayish-white).
(Listen) Émôšéškáno. It's brown.
(Listen) Éma'óma'ôhtsévo. It's pink. (word is built from 'red')
Basic color terms:
The following are referred to as the five "Cheyenne colors."
These five colors have a special status within the Cheyenne worldview. Perhaps the English technical label "basic colors" can be applied to them. The other colors of Cheyenne are referred to as simply "colors," that is, not "Cheyenne colors."
The term for 'green' may be derived from description of grass, or, conversely, the term for 'grass,' hoxo'ôhtsévó'êstse may be a neologism constructed from 'green' plus a generic word for hay-like plants (mo'e'êstse) which includes grass, hay, and weeds. Color terms for brown are debated by Cheyennes. We suspect that brown was not a historic color in Cheyenne. The term given here is used for the color of buckskin. Some newer color names, not given here, have been constructed to match some other English color names, such orange and turquoise.
For the technical label "basic color terms", see Internet links below.
Cheyenne color meanings:
tséheóvo (that which is yellow): new life, beauty
tsévó'kómo (that which is white): active life, dancing
tsémá'o (that which is red): warmth
tséotá'távo (that which is blue): sky, water
tsémo'kôhtávo (that which is black): death, hatred
Étónetôhtâheve? What design/pattern is it?
Émo'ôhtáveotse. It blackened.
Émo'kôhtávea'e. It is blackish in color.
Émo'kôhtáveata. He is blackish in color.
Éhohpâhéata. He is lightskinned.
Évó'komea'e. It is whitish in color.
Énoóno. It is faded/dried up.
Other Internet links on color terms:
Do you see the same blue that I see?
Colors in Native American Languages
Basic Color Terms (Berlin & Kay)
World Color Survey (Berlin/Kay/Merrifield)
Locating the Berlin and Kay Color Stimuli in the Color Space
Message: Color Terms
Color categorization list (ala Berlin & Kay)
What is the relation between language and thought?
Normative Color Naming
Color (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)