Javanese follows the 5 color system: black, white, red, yellow, and green. Any unlisted color will be named after the one in the list deemed the most similar.

We have adopted a large list of color names from Indonesian vocabulary, but some still find it difficult not to call “blue” green, “brown” red, or “orange” yellow.

The sky is green. The palm sugar is red. The (orange) egg yolk is dark yellow.

We perceive colors the same way, but culture makes us name them differently. One culture may have a greater list of vocabulary in a certain field, but less in a few others. This is because, living in different regions and facing different challenges, we have to shape our language in the way it best serves us.

It’s not remembering new words which is difficult, but adapting to the new concepts behind them.

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