SYMBOLISM OF COLOUR NAMINGS IN THE KAZAKH LANGUAGE Omarova A.O.,Tazhikeyeva A.Sh.,Yerzhumanova A.B.

Karaganda State University


Номер: 6-4
Год: 2016
Страницы: 10-15
Журнал: Актуальные проблемы гуманитарных и естественных наук

Ключевые слова

colour, colour namings, symbolism, symbolics of colour namings, phraseological units. Ключевые слова: цвет, цветообозначения, символика, символика цветообозначений, фразеологические единицы

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Аннотация к статье

The article deals with the symbolics of colour namings in Kazakh language. Different symbolic meanings of white and black in the Kazakh culture is presented by concrete examples. Traditional way of colour perception in connection with a rainbow is considered. Form peculiarities of colour naming units in Kazakh is also covered in the given article.

Текст научной статьи

The nature that surrounds us is extremely and wonderfully beautiful; it is full of different and varying colours. The beauty that attracts us is connected with the variety of colours. It is very difficult to know the secret of all colours because it’s not easy to recognize and differentiate all colours of nature. Thus, nowadays it is not enough to differentiate and know the colours visually. That’s why differentiation of colours from each other, solving such a problem, is the task of such branches of science as physics, physiology, psychology, chemistry, optics, astronomy, metrology, linguistics and others. The science which studies the special nature of colours is called chromatics [1,3]. “Form” mostly observes the external view, different forms and structure of the phenomena, “colour” observes their colour. “Form” has more material meaning, and the “colour” has more descriptive and determinative meaning. Colour namings in Kazakh language, as well as in other languages, is an investigated category ( Y.Kenesbayev, N.Sauranbayev, A.Iskakov, M.Balakayev, S.Amanzholov, A.Kaidarov, G.Musabayev, Z.Akhtamberdiyeva, B.Omirbekov, Zh.Shakenov,etc.) [2,22]. Human being can differentiate form and colour in two ways. One of them is scientific way and the other is traditional. If the perception of the world of colours in the scientific way is connected with the development of the branches of the science which study it, then traditional perception means to rely on the life-long experience of one society. If to look from historical aspect, of course, traditional learning has to be foremost than scientific one [3,5]. Colours are not limited by determining the kind, the colour, the form and external shape of a thing or a phenomenon. Colour naming can be far from the colour meaning, or nowadays they can have different conceptions and meanings. So, one of them is symbolic feature of colour namings. Symbolism is originated from the Greek word “symbol”, today it means the collection of symbols denoting different ideas, notions, conceptions, thoughts, feelings and activities. We can notice symbolic meaning of colours through social life, through people’s traditions and customs, even through comprehension of an ethnos and separate individuals. To know such peculiarities inherent to colour namings is of great interest for everyone. Such symbolic beliefs related to colour namings occur in all nations. That’s why there are not only common but also particular features of them. To research symbolics of colour namings in comparison is interesting for us due to its above-mentioned special peculiarities. The symbolics of colour namings, due to its subject and meaning, national, psychological, physiological, linguistic and other peculiarities differentiated the scope of symbols usage into several groups like national and international symbolics of colour namings, symbolics related to traditions and customs, geo-symbolics and etc. Symbols of different levels, types and forms connected with colour namings appeared initially owing to the outlook of separate individuals to various colours and shades in the surrounding world and their perception. That’s why we would like to start from people’s physiological perception, psychological feelings, aesthetic perception and taste, creative attitude to colours before proceeding to the symbolics of colours. Every ethnic group tries to give to certain types of colours a certain definition and idea, and give them a meaning. Hereby, except the nominative meaning of white (ak) and black (kara), red (kizil) and blue (kok), green (zhasyl) and yellow (sary), they tend to develop substantive i.e. material, abstract meaning which influence on their wide usage in everyday life. For example, if we take white and black colours we can see different symbolic meanings of their usage in the Kazakh culture. White colour has the meaning of “purity”, “justice”, “mercy”, “innocence”, “happy way of life”, “faithful intention” and some others. Black colour, in its turn, indicates “sorrow”, “hardships of the difficult life”, “cruelty”, “fierceness” and etc. And the essence of social symbolics develops from such features of colours [1,65]. Hereby, we should note, that phraseological units occuring in our everyday life and fictions possess ethnic peculiarities. For example: 1) About nature: ak tuman (weak fog), ak zhauyn (drizzling rain), ak tutek boran (blinding snowstorm), ak takyr (flat land without any plants), ak kar (white snow); 2) About human beings: ak kuba (fair complexion), ak zharkyn (cheerful), ak sausak (about a person who doesn’t do any physical job), ak ter, kok ter (get tired of smth), kosagymen kosa agaru (to live a happy life with one’s spouse), agynan aktaryldy (to tell the truth), auzy akka zharymady (don’t say any good word); 3) About a social life and social state: ak kiyizge otyrgyzu (to show an honour), ak suiyek (blue blood), ak tuiyenin karny zharyldy (to be happy); 4) About traditions and customs: ak bata (a blessing), ak zhaulyk (a wife), ak neke (sacred wedlock), ak olim (natural death), ak dastarkhan (festive table); 5) About an armour and weapons: ak sauyt (white armour), ak semser (white sword). These are namings that are related only to the white colour. Along with specific system of social symbolics and their traditional usage they have its own history of development. We can analyze them dividing into several topical groups. We have to mention that different types of symbolic attributes (a flag, an emblem, a military uniform, national coat of arms, styles of city buildings and exterior view) are not always homogeneous in colour aspects (for example, red, white, green, blue, black and other flags), mostly they are made of a mixture of various colours and colourings. As a result we can see an advent of various and more complicated types of social symbolics and attributes. For example, a national coat of arms and an emblem of a certain state representing its peculiarities can contain several presentive patterns along with colour symbolics. A prominent scholar A.Divayev pointed that according to the Kazakh customs black, white and red colours have syncretic meaning connected with death. All of these colours were symbols of sorrowful death and mourning. Fabrics and clothes, furniture and home appliances depicted by these colours were considered as symbolic attributes. According to the works of A.Divayev Kazakh widows, used to wear black or red colored shawl on their heads and put on a loose chapan [4,260]. In other regions white colour was used as a symbol of a sorrowful death as well. For example, a widow or a woman, one of whose relatives died, used to wear black dress and cover her head with a black shawl, but in some regions there was a tradition of wearing white colour. In this connection G.Musirepov in his novel “Zhat kolynda” (In the grip of aliens), wrote: “The black furnaces remind mourning women. I used to see Iglik’s wife Aigansha being in mourning. Could it be that Aigansha is among these mourning women… ” (p.283). And we can see other words in the novel as well: “Nazykesh is wearing a white shawl. Mourning of Kazakh woman is putting on the white shawl … There is a shymyldyk (a cover) on the right wall. It is also a sign of mourning. There is a dead man inside of it, of course”. Therefore it means that Kazakh people used three colours, black, red and white for mourning. Such phenomenon is called symbolic syncretism of colours in the scientific language [5,37]. It is known that Kazakh women’s handicraft (sewing a patchwork quilt, small quilt and some other household things) was considered an art and a skill long ago. Sewing a quilt wasn’t an activity for idlers or the symbol of poverty. Our mothers and grandmothers sewing such different multicolored small parts of textile taught their children the names of those colours they used and it helped children to learn and memorize different colours in nature. It is known from the folklore, epos, fables and fairy tales, fiction that the symbolics of colour namings was present in people’s life [1,67]. We can see some colour namings from written carvings of Orkhon-Yenisei artifacts of V-VIII centuries, rich historical and literary heritage written in the Old Uighur, the Manichean, the Brahman, and Arabic. Let’s try to analyze traditional way of colour perception in connection with a rainbow. Rainbow is a bow made up of seven colours, an optical phenomenon occurring in the atmosphere. In the scientific view, rainbow ‘emerges in the result of direct diffraction and interference of various lights of different length caused by sunshine’s refraction and illumination of raindrops. Its clarity and lightness changes due to the size of raindrops. The larger the drop, clearer and lighter the rainbow is. Sometimes together with the main rainbow, we can notice the second one. It is called double rainbow. It emerges in the result of sunshine’s dual illumination caused by an angle incident on the drop. Rainbow caused by moonlight is called moonlight rainbow’ [6,360]. There is an interesting thing that every nation perceives, predicts and explains a rainbow’s emergence in their own way, and then gives names accordingly. For example, Kazakh people call this phenomenon ‘kempirkosak’, Nogai people ‘kurtkashyk’, Tuva people - chelesh, Bashkurt people - iyaygor, Uighur people call it hasan-usan, Karachai-Balkar people ‘dzhang-kylych’, Tatar people ‘salavat kupere’, Chuvash people ‘asamat kupere’, Kyrgiz people ‘zhaa’ (in the meaning of a bow, an arch); ‘asmandagy zhaa’, ‘zhez kempirdin kogoni’, ‘kok zhele’, ‘lsan-usen’ and so on [1,48]. There are some other natural phenomena that served as the basis for peoples’ traditional concepts and perception of colours. But people accept only the most important peculiarities of them. For example, Kazakh people say ‘a red apple’,’ a green melon’, ‘a yellow horse milk’, ‘a black ground’, ‘a white bread’, ‘a green forest’, ‘a grey face’. And now let’s pay some more attention to the colours of these familiar objects that are not really homogeneous. For example, if we take the reddest apples, we can see that apples cannot be absolutely red, even the fully red-ripe apple has some mixture with green colour. And if we compare all the above mentioned colours based on this example we can see huge differences. Conclusion: scientific way and national traditional way of colours’ perception are quite different things. Hereby, similarity in the nature of colours and colour namings attracts our attention. By suggesting differentiation between namings and terms, the former is referred to that colours perceived by means of national tradition and the latter to defining them on the scientific basis. As for the Kazakh, its colour system has own peculiarities besides its common features. Due to this, it is necessary to thoroughly investigate linguistic base of color naming units, the ways of origin, lexical structure, morphological forms, formation models and their meanings. Such problems as the difference between natural colour and colour of animals, language possibilities of rendering meanings of contrastive colours and general colours, substantivization of colour naming units and their usage in indirect symbolic meaning and etc. mostly refer to traditonal perception. Form peculiarities of colour naming units usually include their structure, quantity of words and types of words they consist of as the complexity of colour naming units in relation to form depends on their direct meaning. In other words, naming units consisting of one word basically mean homogeneous colours, and those which contain two or more words denote mixed colours. Derived roots and double words identify different shades of colour. Sometimes naming unit consisting of one word can denote additonal shades. In general, development and the complexity of colour naming units in relation to its form is connected with identification, differentiation and classification of new colour shades. In order to classify colour naming units according to wordbuilding method we need to investigate single words and word combinations they consist of. That is why it is necessary to identify lexical-grammatical peculiarities of such notions as “single word” and “word combination”. There are not so many color naming units in Kazakh made up from one word in comparison with general quantity of colors. They include natural chromatic and achromatic colours, colours of animals and beasts: Ak (white): aksha, akshyl, akshyldau, appak; boz (light): bozang, bozangdau, bozsha, bozgyl, bozgylsha, bozgylt, bozgylltau, bozgyltym, bozshalau, bozamyk, bozarynki, bozankyr, bozgyldau, bozalang, bozangky; sur (grey): sursha, surgylt, surgyltym, surlau, surgylttau; kara (black): karasha, karamty, karalau, karalanky; kyzyl (red): kyzylsha, kyzgylt, kyzgyltym, kyzyldau; kok (blue): kokshe, kogildir, kokshil, kokshildeu, kogerinki, kokpenbek, kogilzhim; zhasyl (green): zhasylsha, zhasyldau; sary (yellow): sarysha, sargysh, sargyshtau, sargylt, sargyltym, sarylau; ala (gay): alasha, alalau, alamysh, alamyshtau; konyr (brown): konyrsha, konyrlau, konyrkai; kuba (light yellow): kubasha, kuban, kubakan; tory (sorrel): torysha, torgyl, torgylt, torgyltym, torylau; kuren (brown): kurenshe, kurendeu; zhiren (ginger): zhirenshe, zhirendeu; shubar (mottled); shubarsha, shubarlau; targyl (mottled): targylsha, targyldau; shabdar (skewbald): shabdarsha, shabdarlau; tenbil (spotty): tenbilshe, tenbilshe, etc. There are approximately one hundred color naming units consisting of one word in our language, and about thirty of them serve as the basis for the formation of derived roots. Thus they are only one tenth of one thousand naming units in our language. It means that colour naming units are formed by combining with other words connected with colour. In general, there are plenty of main and derived naming units in our language. Forty of them are colour naming units given by one word form (root, derived root, solid word): (ak (white), boz (light), sur (grey), ala (mottled), alkyzyl (scarlet), sary (yellow), kok (blue), zhasyl (green), konyr (brown), ker (black-brown), kula (light-brown), tory (sorrel), kuren (brown), zhiren (ginger), kulgin (violet), shabdar (skewbald), baran (black), kyzgylt (reddish), kogildir (blue), kokshe (blue), sargylt (ginger), sargysh (yellow), aksha (white), akshyl (white), zengir (sky-blue), buryl (roan), surgylt (grey), kokshil (blue), surkai (grey), konyrkai (brown), etc.). Besides, there are words and word combinations expressing color meaning (shymkai (solid), kyrmyzy (hunter’s pink), shubar (mottled), kozhalak (greyish), shankan (absolutely white), koshkyl (brown), targyl (mottled), kylan (light grey), zholak (striped), sagal (light brown), dalaptai (red as lipstick), anardai (red as pomegranate), arshygan zhumyrtkadai (white as peeled egg), etc.). In spite of the fact that there are plenty of colour naming units, it was identified that one group of colours is formed due to the basic word that is common for it. All the rest are simple and compound names developed from these root words (kok (blue)-kogildir, kokshe, kokshil (bluish) and formed as derived root or word combination (kara kok (dark blue), kulgin kok (green grey)). The origin of Kazakh colour naming units can be identified through comparison with some facts of Russian language. Therefore it is easy to classify them in terms of substantive basis: plants, fruits and vegetables (zelen (grass) - zelenyi (green), roza (rose) - rozoviy (pink), sveklo (beet) - svekolnyi (beet-colored), vishnya (cherry) - vishnevyi (cherry-colored), malina (raspberry) - malinovyi (raspberry-red), granata (pomegranate) - granatovyi (crimson) etc.); metal (svinetc (lead) - svintcovyi (leaden), stal (steel) - stalnoi (steely), med (copper) - medovyi (copperlike), bronza (bronze) - bronzovyi (mulatto) etc.); household appliances (kirpich (brick) - kirpichnyi (brick-red), tabak (tobacco)-tabachnyi (snuff-colored), butylka (bottle) - butylochnyi (bottle-colored)), precious metals (malakhit (malachite) - malachitovyi (malachite), rubin (rubine) - rubinovyi (ruby-red), izumrud (emerald) - izumrudovyi (emerald-green), terrakot (terra-cotta) - terrakotovyi (terra-cotta), koral (coral)-korallovyi (corraline)); meal (moloko (milk) - molochnyi (milky), olivka (olive) - oliphkovyi (olive-colored), kofe (coffee) - kofeinyi (coffee-colored), salat (lettuce) - salatovyi (lettuce-green), tomat (tomato) - tomatnyi (tomato), gorchitca (mustard) - gorchichniy (mustard)); natural phenomenon (nebo (sky) - nebesnyi (skyey), ogon (flame) - ognennyi (flamy), rzhavchina (rust) -rzhavyi (rusty), boloto (moss) - bolotnyi (moss green) etc.). The principle of using substantive basis in order to form colour naming units in Russian language is a productive one. Due to this the quantity of one word colour naming units has reached the number of one hundred fifty. In this relation, Gabit Musirepov said the following: “The word “kok” (blue) cannot mean the same color for plant and sky (in Kazakh this word is used to descibe both, but there are different colors for each of them, i.e., green plant and blue sky). It would be better if term committee considers this problem as the color naming units zengir, kok, zhasyl (sky-blue, blue, green) are not sufficient. Russian has such naming units as cherry-colored, bottle-colored, coffee-colored. Maybe we will try to do the same” [5,350]. We should develop models similar to it, but much closer to our linguistic nature. For example, there are plenty shades of the red in Kazakh such as al kyzyl (scarlet), shiyedei kyzyl (cherry-colored), zhosadai kyzyl kan, zhosa kan kyzyl (bloody red), altaiy kyzyl (red as a fox), shymkai kyzyl (pure red) which are commonly used. That is why the works of poets and writers, journalists and linguisticts in this sphere should be appreciated. One more feature of Kazakh is that there are many colour naming units with unknown origin. Even though some of them can be revealed by means of an etymological method, the rest has still remained mysterious. For example, it is not necessary to investigate such one syllable colour naming units as ak (white), boz (grey), sur (grey), kok (blue), ker (black-brown), al (light). Because they cannot further be classified or divided into morphemes. Thus they can be referred to the ancient roots coming from old time and colour meanings of which must also be ancient. Two syllable colour naming units (kara ala (black mottled), kula (light-brown), sary (yellow), tory (sorrel), zhasyl (green), kyzyl (red), kuren (brown), shubar (mottled), shabdar (skewbald), zhiren (ginger), tenbil (spotty), baran (black), targyl (mottled), koshkyl (brown), konyr (brown) etc.) and three syllable colour naming units derived from them (karasha (blackish), bozgyltym (lightish), sargyltym (yellowish), kyzgyltym (purplish), surgyltym (greyish), bozamyk (light), kyzylsha (beet-colored), kogildir (bluish), kogilzhim (bluish) etc.) are also interesting from etymological point of view. There are only few four syllable colour naming units in our language (karalynky (light black), alamyshtau (light mottled), kogerinki (light blue)) [1,54]. All these naming units are considered to be original Kazakh words taking their roots from ancient times. There are no foreign words among them. Since these main roots and derived roots consisting of one syllable and two syllables (al (light), ak (white), kok (blue), boz (grey), and kara (black), sary (yellow), ala (mottled), tory (sorrel)) are ancient ones they serve as the basis for the formation of several roots (boz (grey) + bozsha (greyish), ak (white) + aksha (whitish), sur (grey) +surkay (greyish)). All derived roots are formed by means of popular models exisiting in our language system. Nowadays word-building suffixes have become old, their meaning outmoded, they are used in the structure of derived roots and can be identified only by etimological analysis. For example, there are such suffixes in our language which do not take part in word-building, but once were used as models like yl//-il (kyz+yl (red), zhas+yl (green)), and - kyl, -gyl (tar+gyl (mottled), kosh+kyl (brown), boz+gyl (light)), or -sha//-she (ak+sha (whitish), boz+sha (lightish), sur+sha (greyish)), -an//-en (boz+an (lightish), kur+en (brown)), -gylt//-gilt (boz+gylt (lightish), sur+gylt (greyish)) and etc. Thus all one word colour naming units are ancient words and belong to the category of lexis forms of which have not been changed. One more proof is some main roots made up of one syllable that is the basis for the formation of the above-mentioned derived roots can be independent words used separately, for example, boz> boz+an, boz+gyl (lightish), ak>ak+sha (whitish), sur>sur+sha (greyish). Some lost their independence and belong to the dead roots, kyz>kyz+yl (red), zhas>zhas+yl (green), sar>sar+y(k) (yellow), tor>tor+y(k) (mottled), kur>kur+en (brown) etc. Most of the colour naming units used in Kazakh are double words and word combinations formed by means of an analytical basis. The large quantity of such colour naming units is explained by presence of so many unhomogeneous shades, extra and compound colours besides chromatic and achromatic main colors in the spectrum. For instance, according to our investigation, the black color has more than 40 shades, red - more than 30, white - more than 30, blue - more than 20. If some of these shades are derived roots formed on the basis of their namings (ak>aksha (whitish), kok>kogildir (bluish), kyzyl>kyzgyltym (purplish), sary>sargysh (yelloyish), etc.), the majority of them are made by combination of several colors. Moreover, there are other additonal lexical-grammatical means to express saturation, intesity of colors. For example, along with comparative word combinations such as karanyn karasy (blacker than black), kazannyn tup kuiyesindei kara (black as grime on the bottom of kettle), komirdei kara (black as coal), temir tabyndai kara (black as an iron), kara kurym (black as grime), kuiyedei kara (black as grime), there are color naming units formed by means of lexical repetition: kyp-kyzyl (hunter’s pink), sap-sary (bright yellow), zhap-zhasyl (bright green), kap-kara (inky). This word-building type is considered to be lexical repetition, and repetition inherent to adjectives is called repeated double words which give intensive meaning to the words. We name them repetitions due to the initial pair of the word is the first syllable abbreviated from the main colour naming unit. It is not only repeated, a sound “p” is added (ka-/-p-kara). There are not so many repeated adjectives in Kazakh. They can be formed only from some of the colour namings (kap-kara (inky), kyp-kyzyl (hunter’s pink), sap-sary (bright yellow), kop-konyr (bright brown), shup-shubar (very spotted), bop-boz (very light)). Two of them - appak (dazzling white) and kokpenbek (bright blue) are traditionally written together after being adapted phonetically and changed. However, the rule of their adaptation is known to us. For example, the form appak (dazzling white) had to be ap-/-ak according to the above-mentioned rule [1,55]. In general, Kazakh lexis abounds in colour naming units. Every colour fulfills particular function in social life and every day life of people. Colours express not only features of natural phenomena and describe particular notions, namings, they are also used in different ways in tradition and in different spheres of social life.

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