Thursday, August 31, 2006


Now that we've covered the basic colors, we'll look at a few words in Hebrew based on colors in related Semitic languages. As we've seen before, אוכמה means black in Aramaic. From here we get the word uchmanit אוכמנית - blackberry. All nice and good, except that I always learned that uchmanit meant blueberry! Well, it turns out that uchmanit means both blueberry and blackberry in Hebrew. Although this may be due to the fact that the Academy of the Hebrew Language does not know what a blackberry is. If you look up uchmanit, they say blackberry, but give the Latin name Vaccinium Myrtillus, which is defined as a bilberry, a type of blueberry. The blackberry is from the genus Rubus, which the Academy of the Hebrew Language translates as פטל petel (which is more commonly known as raspberry, but that's another species in the same family.)

So you'd think that blackberries should be called uchmaniyot, and blueberries called something else - due to their blue color. But before we rush to judgment, I'll end off with this classic quote from George Carlin:

Why is there no blue food? I can't find blue food - I can't find the flavor of blue! I mean, green is lime; yellow is lemon; orange is orange; red is cherry; what's blue? There's no blue! Oh, they say, "Blueberries!" Uh-uh; blue on the vine, purple on the plate. There's no blue food! Where is the blue food? We want the blue food! Probably instores immortality! They're keeping it from us!

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