Basic Colors in Japanese

 

 

COLORS

色々な色

 

 



The Japanese word
for “color” is
iro
Click on
the
for a sound file of the word or download
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here


Colors are used
grammatically in two ways, as nouns and as adjectives. The actual
color names as nouns are listed in the second column. The
examples in the third column show how to use the colors as nouns
and how to make them into adjectives.

COLORS COLOR NAMES AS NOUNS WHEN USED AS AN
ADJECTIVE MOST COLOR NAMES ADD A “
YELLOW 黄色 ki iro 1) 黄色 はきれい。 kiiro wa kirei desu. Yellow is pretty. (this is a noun)

2) 黄色とりはきれいです。 kiiroi tori wa kirei desu. The yellow bird is pretty. (this is an
adjective)

BLUE ao 1) そらは青です。 sora wa aoi desu. The sky is blue.

2) あの青いけはきれいです。 ano aoi ike wa kirei desu. That blue pond is pretty.

RED aka 1) このはなは赤です。 kono hana wa akai desu. This flower is red.

2) これは赤はなです。 kore wa akai hana desu. This is a red flower.

WHITE shiro 1) ゆきはしろyuki wa shiroi. Snow is white.

2) 外国人は白ごはんをあまりたべない。
gaikokujin
wa shiroi gohan o amari tabenai.
Foreigners don’t usually eat
plain, white rice (with no butter or salt…).

BLACK kuro 1)ふくが好きじゃない。 kuroi fuku ga suki ja nai. I don’t like black clothes.
GREY 灰色 hai iro

the color of
ashes

<to
make this into an adjective that connects to another word
add
no>

1) 灰色くつしたがほしい。 haiiro no kutsushita ga hoshii. I want grey socks.

PURPLE murasaki 1)はなが一番好き。 murasaki no hana ga ichiban suki. I like purple flowers the
best.
GREEN midori 1) 木は緑です。 ki wa midori desu. A tree is green.

2) 牛は緑くさを食べたい。 ushi wa midori no kusa o
tabetai.
The
cow wants to eat green grass.


OTHER NOTES:

  • In Japanese, the word for “Black & White”
    is “White & Black” –
    白黒 shiro
    kuro
  • In Japan, traffic light signals are said to be RED
    aka, BLUE ao (not green), and YELLOW
    ki
    Once I was driving my Japanese friend
    around in America. We were stopped at a light and were having a nice conversation
    when suddenly she yells, “It’s BLUE!” I said, “What?”
    And she repeated, “It’s BLUE!” Then I looked up to the signal and
    said, “Oh! It’s GREEN!”
  • Sometimes Blues and Greens are interchanged in Japanese
  • Many colors are used in people’s names
  • Most Japanese children draw the sun not yellow but RED
    aka
  • Polar Bears are White bears in Japanese 白熊
    shiro kuma

 

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