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Jeruba's avatar

Synesthetes: what color is April?

Asked by Jeruba (52851points) April 1st, 2012

Don’t tell me. Show me.

To me it’s this.

And this.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

Trillian's avatar

I associate April with Easter.
But yeah, the daffs are out all over.

Jeruba's avatar

I guess I should explain: I’m speaking of the color that the word “April” has in your mind.

Cruiser's avatar

Lilacs do it for me! And is the best smell of spring too!

marinelife's avatar

To me, it’s this.

rebbel's avatar

@Jeruba Yeah, but I didn’t want to write orange, so I put a pic of orange flowers.

Jeruba's avatar

@rebbel, I understood. I was just explaining that I’m not talking about an association or idea or feeling. I’m talking to those with grapheme-color synesthesia who see words in color inside their heads.

DominicX's avatar

I have grapheme-color synesthesia, but I don’t see most words as being colored. April, however, is one of them. It is purple in my mind and I know exactly where my color associations come from:

My mom’s been using the Cynthia Hart Victoriana calendars all my life and April was often colored with a purple/lavender color, of course due to spring flowers and easter. Additionally, my mom’s birthday is in April and her favorite color is purple. So purple and April were tied together at a young age and now I just see April as being a purple word/month. March is green, October is orange, etc. Some of the others are less obvious, like June being light green (which may coincide with me seeing 6 as light green? Not sure).

dappled_leaves's avatar

Can I ask a question? For those who responded, is your colour for April based on associations with April events, or with the letters in the word April? Or both?

Berserker's avatar

It has this color for me. My monitor is set to extremely dark tones, but they’re supposed to be pale blue.

rojo's avatar

April is a vibrant green.

downtide's avatar

I went and painted it. Although it didn’t quite come out right, there should be a bit more yellow and some of it should be lighter. Read from top left to bottom right.

@dappled_leaves for me it’s the way the word sounds when spoken aloud. My synesthesia is auditory, I don’t get anything off written text.

Jeruba's avatar

@dappled_leaves, for most ordinary words it’s the letters. (It’s also numbers.) But for proper nouns and especially those we use constantly, such as names of days, names of months, names of places and people, the whole word may have a color irrespective of the colors of the individual letters. Some may have a combination of an overall color and letter-colors.

It’s not to do with the sound, though. For me it’s all visual. Sound itself typically has visual effects, though not usually literal or pictorial.

@downtide, very nice. I can feel that. I can almost hear it. How important is the texture you gave it? (And how did you achieve that texture?)

dappled_leaves's avatar

@downtide That is so interesting! I’ve never heard of it being linked to sound before.

@Jeruba That is why I began to wonder – my understanding was that word colours were based on letter colours… thank you.

flutherother's avatar

@downtide Fascinating! Does the violet and blue in the lower right represent the ‘il’ of April? And how would say the word ‘pill’ be represented?

downtide's avatar

@Jeruba there is always a texture, the colours are never smooth, but the nature of the texture depends monstly on the voice that is speaking, it doesn’t affect the colours. I achieved the texture in the pic by adding noise and then a motion blur in the same angle as the coloured stripes.

@flutherother – Not quite. The violet-blue is just the L. I often find that vowels get affected by the colour of consonants around them, depending on how they’re pronounced, so the individual letters may vary slightly from word to word. “Pill” is a much sharper, less fuzzy-sounding word and is coloured maroon – white(ish) – blue

Jeruba's avatar

@dappled_leaves, any sense can cross over. It’s an individual, subjective thing. Common patterns don’t amount to rules; someone else’s experience may not be mine, but they’re both genuine.

@downtide, I get that. I’m also guessing that the same word spoken in a different accent would look a little different—true?

lifeflame's avatar

“April” would be like this

However, April in Cantonese 四月 (pronounced “seh-yuet”) would be like this. I think the “yuet” sound, and the fact that it means “month” makes it round and soft for me in a way “April” doesn’t.

Jeruba's avatar

@lifeflame, so it’s sound-based for you? I think sound is at the root of the visual effect for me, but so far below the surface that I don’t experience it as sound. The symbol and its meaning are too firmly united for me to make that distinction. I can’t remember what it was like to see words before I could read them, but I doubt that there was any color there.

One of the interesting things for me is to observe what happens to words written in other writing systems than the one I’m used to. When I first work with a different alphabet, say Devanagari (Sanskrit), it has no color—just as I presume most writing has for most people. But then when I get to know it better, and can read it more fluently, the symbols begin to take on color just like the Roman alphabet.

I spent a little time with Japanese (Hiragana and Katakana, not Kanji) but never got to the point where it was anything but black and white.

I have no idea what is the reason for this.

Mariah's avatar


While most words’ colors come about from the letters they contain, particularly the first letter, my month name colors work differently. I think my associations started back in childhood when classrooms had calendars with cartoonish pictures for each month related to holidays or other events in that month. For example, for me February is a pink word (the classroom calendar page for February always had hearts on it), March is green (clovers), and April is blue because the calendars had raindrops for the April page.

downtide's avatar

@Jeruba yes, different accents do make changes mainly to vowels, which is why it’s so hard for me to pin any of them down! It also depends on if its a long or short vowel. Pretty much any vowel can be any pastel shade, or white.

Jeruba's avatar

@downtide, to my inner eye, the vowels usually have warm colors (yellow, orange, red) and the consonants cool colors (blue, green, purple). But there are some chameleon letters that take color from their neighbors, and a very few are white, gray, black, brown, or colorless. Some single letters change color in different positions.

However, in spoken English, accents do tend to cast a tone over the words. A certain British accent, for example, gives sounds a yellow wash, and another tints everything slightly chartreuse. I hear some Southern American accents in bluish tones, and the speech of the Northeast has extra red in it.

lifeflame's avatar

@Jeruba – The interesting thing about Chinese is that most words are made of smaller compound characters; so for example, April is literally, in terms of characters, “four-moon”. So I don’t know if it is the soft “yuet” sound or the symbolic association of the moon that is making the round effect. I almost want to say, the sound gives a colour / texture, and the symbol makes an association with shape; but it’s a bit hard to tease out.

It’s actually much harder for me to associate the writing with a colour than it is for a sound.
The written word is so symbolic, it’s pretty hard for me to give colour to it. So by just looking at a written language, it has no colour. But if you sound it, I can associate a colour.

(agree that vowels are generally warm, and consonants are generally cool..)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Jeruba I just ran across this clip from the quiz show QI and thought of you. Synesthesia

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