Friday, May 08, 2009

Where the Oceans Meet the Mountains

It’s green but it seems blue. Or does it? The Storm King Wavefield is a permanent installation by Maya Lin in Mountainville, N.Y. Seven parallel rows of rolling, swelling peaks on 11 acres were inspired by the forms of midocean waves but echo the mountains and hills around them. It’s made of natural materials: dirt and grass.

This evocative landscape of mountains and waves - greenness and blueness - raises a linguistic fact about color. Many languages do not have separate terms for blue and green. For example, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and Chinese have color terms that cover both. Also, the Japanese word for blue (ao) is used for colors that English speakers would refer to as green, such as the traffic light for “go.”

Storm King WaveField- Where the Oceans Meet the Mountains

Distinguishing blue from green in language

1 comment:

joodferl said...

Hey, I love your blog and Color Matters. You may be interested in a magazine column I wrote on color for the graphic-design mag STEP inside design. (I also tweet regularly about color at In it I explore odd cultural histories for each color, connecting anecdotes, facts, and other factoids in a "web" of associations for each color.

You can download my color-columns here:



Jude Stewart