All major Romance languages have patterns of the type jaune paille for expressing shades of colour represented by some prototypical object. The first constituent of this pattern is a colour term, while the second one designates a prototypical representative of the colour shade. The present paper starts with a short discussion of the controversial grammatical status of this pattern and its constituents. Its main aim, however, concerns the origin and diffusion of this pattern. We have not found hard and fast evidence that Medieval Italian pigment compounds of the type verderame influenced the rise of the jaune paille pattern, which first appears in French in the 16th century. This pattern continued to be a minority solution during the 17th century, but established itself during the 18th century. In the 19th century, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese adopted the pattern jaune paille, while it did not reach Catalan and Romanian before the 20th century.
Österreichische Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige (ÖFOS)
- 602042 Romanistik