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Color connotations in Chinese

color in chinese, learn chinese

In contemporary Chinese, color connotations are used in all walks of life. Websites, food, agriculture, telephone directory, personal income and social groups can all be described with different colors.

在当代汉语中,各种颜色指代已堂而皇之地步入社会生活的各个领域,例如网站、食品、农业、电话簿、个人收入、社会群体等等,均可以不同的颜色称代之。

The most typical example is the colorful "领子" (lǐnɡ zi, collars). "白领" (bái lǐnɡ) is a white-collar worker, "蓝领" (lán lǐnɡ) is a blue-collar worker, "灰领" (huī lǐnɡ) is a gray-collar worker, "粉领" (fěn lǐnɡ) refers to a pink-collar worker or a female SOHO worker, and "黑领" (hēi lǐnɡ) refers to a "black-collar worker" who works in the government or a state-owned monopoly enterprise in China.

最为典型的是各种颜色的"领子",白领、蓝领、灰领、粉领、黑领。

There are also red, green and yellow websites. "红色网站" (hónɡ sè wǎnɡ zhàn) or "red websites" refer to those ideological & political education websites of colleges, public institutions and state-owned enterprises, "绿色网站" (lǜ sè wǎnɡ zhàn) or "green websites" refer to those innocuous, educational and inspiring websites, while "黄色网站" (huánɡ sè wǎnɡ zhàn) or "yellow websites" refer to the pornographic websites. 

再如各类网站也有红、绿、黑之分。高等院校或企事业单位中建立的思想政治教育网站,称为"红色网站"。内容健康向上、怡情益智,充满生命活力的网站,称为"绿色网站"。而"黄色网站"指充斥色情、淫秽等不健康内容的网站。

One's income can also be described by colors. "白色收入" (bái sè shōu rù, white income) refers to the legal and publically visible remunerations, including salary and bonus. "黑色收入" (hēi sè shōu rù, black income) refers to the illegal and concealed gains by embezzlement, theft and bribery. "灰色收入" (huī sè shōu rù, gray income) refers to the incomes except salary, like the part-time job gains, contribution fee, interest income, stock yield and post earnings. These incomes are named "灰色收入", because they exist between "白色收入" and "黑色收入", and one prefers to make them unknown to others. 

个人收入,亦可用颜色分类。"白色收入"指按规定获得的工资、津贴等劳动报酬。这类收入通常是公开的、透明的,故名。"黑色收入"指通过贪污、盗窃、受贿等非法手段获得的收入。这类收入是违法的,隐蔽的,故称。"灰色收入"指工资之外,如兼职收入、稿酬、利息、股票获利、职务收益等收入。这类收入介于"白色收入"和"黑色收入"之间,人们不大乐于公开,故称。

"绿色食品" (lǜ sè shí pǐn) or "green food" refers to the pollution-free, safe, quality and nutritious food, which is entitled with the green food mark. Due to the increasing awareness of the environmental protection, "绿色" has become the biggest eye-catcher among all colors. There are "绿色工厂" (lǜ sè ɡōnɡ chǎnɡ, green factory), "绿色奥运" (lǜ sè ào yùn, green Olympics), "绿色蔬菜" (lǜ sè shū cài, green vegetable), "绿色家电" (lǜ sè jiā diàn, green household appliance) and "绿色能源" (lǜ sè nénɡ yuán, green energy). Forest resources are called "绿色银行" (lǜ sè yín hánɡ, green bank), and a protection forest is accredited as "绿色长城" (lǜ sè chánɡ chénɡ, green Great Wall). 

"绿色食品"指无公害、无污染,安全、优质、营养,经专门机构认定许可使用绿色食品标志的食品。随着民众环保意识的增强,"绿色"已成最为抢眼的色彩词,如"绿色工厂、绿色奥运、绿色蔬菜、绿色家电、绿色能源、绿色建材、绿色能源"等。人们把森林资源称为"绿色银行",把防护林工程称为"绿色长城"。

In addition, the dark-color food, like black sesame, black rice, black fungus, black-bone chicken, seaweed, kelp, nori and trepang, are called "black food". Corresponding to "绿色农业" (lǜ sè nónɡ yè, green agriculture), there is "蓝色农业" (lán sè nónɡ yè, blue agriculture), which refers to marine aquaculture, marine farming and marine fishing. It's named for the blue seawater. 

另外,人们把颜色呈黑色的食品,如黑芝麻、黑米、黑木耳、香菇、乌骨鸡、海藻、海带、紫菜、海参等,统称为"黑色食品"。与"绿色农业"相对应的是"蓝色农业",指海洋养殖业、种植业和捕捞业,因海水为蓝色,故名。

Moreover, as "银发" (yín fà, "sliver hair" literally) refers to the elderly, "银色浪潮" (yín sè lànɡ cháo, "silver wave" literally) is used as a metaphor of the rapid growing aging population. Correspondingly, there is "银色市场" (yín sè shì chǎnɡ, silver market), "银色消费" (yín sè xiāo fèi, elderly-oriented market), "银色住宅" (yín sè zhù zhái, housing services for the elderly) and "银色医疗" (yín sè yī liáo, medical services for the elderly). 

由于"银发"指代老人群体,故而将老龄人口快速增长的社会现象喻为"银色浪潮",与之相应是"银色市场""银色消费""银色住宅""银色医疗"等。

As for "黄页" (huánɡ yè, yellow page) and "白页" (bái yè, white page) in a telephone directory, they are named simply by the paper colors. "黄页" refers to the pages of enterprise and residence phone numbers, while "白页" refer to the pages of telephone numbers of the party, government offices and social organizations. 

至于电话号码簿中的"黄页"和"白页",纯由印制纸张的颜色命名。"黄页"指登录企事业单位和住宅电话号码的部分,"白页"指登录党政机关、社会团体电话号码的部分。

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2016-06-21

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