Icelandic: colors without separate noun forms (e.g. bleikur)

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by qiaozhehui, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. qiaozhehui

    qiaozhehui Member

    English - American
    I am wondering about the use and inflection of adjective vs. noun forms of colors in Icelandic.

    Examples in English to illustrate what I mean:

    "That shirt is black." (adjective)
    "Black is my favorite color." (noun)

    Some colors have separate adjective/noun entires in BÍN, for example svartur has entries for both the adjective form and the masculine noun. These two forms naturally have completely different inflection paradigms.

    But other colors, such as bleikur, only have an entry for the adjective form, at least in the dictionaries that I've checked (BÍN and ISELX). Does this mean that there is no separate noun form for colors like bleikur? If so, how should one use these as nouns? Just decline them as adjectives without having any specific noun to modify?

    For example, if I needed bleikur to be a noun in the accusative case, as in:

    "I love pink."

    Would I just simply say?

    Ég elska bleikan.

    Something tells me this wouldn't quite be right, because in the case of svartur, for example, you have completely different accusative forms for the noun and the adjective.

    Uppáhaldsliturinn minn er svartur. Ég elska svart. Ég elska svartar peysur. etc...

    I imagined it would be a similar situation for other colors, but it seems this is not the case?
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  2. Silver_Biscuit

    Silver_Biscuit Senior Member

    English - UK
    There is no noun form for colours. I looked up svartur on Snara and the noun means the person controlling the black pieces in a game of chess.

    I'm not sure you can say "Ég elska colour", but you can certainly say "Uppáhaldsliturinn minn er masculine nominative form". Or talk about your love of black-coloured objects (e.g. "Ég elska svartar peysur").
  3. NoMoreMrIceGuy Senior Member

    I'm not quite sure what the question is, but here's a couple of sentences:

    Ég elska svartan/bleikan.:tick:
    Svartur/bleikur er uppáhaldsliturinn minn.:tick:

    Ég elska svartur/bleikur:cross:
  4. Ancana Member


    There is a book by Ragnheiður Gestsdóttur titled „Ég þoli ekki bleikt“. And I got a lot of hits when I googled „ég elska bleikt“. Albeit, I don’t think „bleikt“ is to be regarded as a noun. Looks like an adverb but, unfortunately, I’m no linguist.
  5. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    I think NMMIG has answered the question, and I knew I had seen accusative singular forms in -an used that way.
    Having said that, I've also read the book that Ancana mentioned and it is exactly like that. There is a tendency to sort of nominalise adjectives by using the neuter forms (which are the same for nominative and accusative) and I think there is a little bit of fluidity in the tendencies to use these forms in this way (both backed up with substantial numbers of hits on the net). I'm not sure if it's possible to functionally differentiate between the two in that bleikan refers to specifically to the colour while bleikt refers to pink and all things that are pink, but that's a potential idea floating around in my head.
  6. qiaozhehui

    qiaozhehui Member

    English - American
    OK, well that explains it. :)

    OK, so it seems that you are saying that one takes the masculine form of the adjective and just declines it accordingly.

    Ancana's example seems to indicate that the neuter form could also be acceptable (bleikt, svart)? Googling for different colors in the neuter form seems to support this idea.

    So, I guess the only remaining question is if there is any semantic difference between: ég elska bleikan and ég elska bleikt.
  7. NoMoreMrIceGuy Senior Member

    If I were to hear those two out of context:

    ég elska bleikan (I love the color pink)
    ég elska bleikt (I love stuff that's pink)

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