The synaesthesia bit of your last answer really interests me, especially as it applies to linguistics! If you don't mind my inquiring further… When considering other alphabets and writing systems, is there a stronger correlation (if any) to grapheme and colour, or represented phoneme and colour? For instance, does я look like 'R' or y/j (/ja/)? What if you're unfamiliar with the language - does ネ take on colour if I say it's pronounced [ne]? Sorry for the interrogation, ehe! It's just very neat!
The short answer is, it’s weird. Shape is relevant, but sound kind of is too.
The long answer is that I just don’t have very vivid synesthesiac colours for writing systems that I learned later in life. So, the Greek alphabet, which I taught myself around age 10 or 12 ish, I have fairly vivid colours for, but it’s weird because I taught myself the names for the letters several years before I memorized the symbols, so they’re fairly name-dependent but some of them are more shape-dependent. Like, rho and eta and chi as words have the colours of their constituent letters, but ρ and η and χ have slight variations on the colours of p and n and x. The letters that have direct Latin shape equivalents are the same colours, and the letters that have no Latin shape equivalent at all, like Ξ, Ψ, Ω tend to be similar to the colours of their name in Latin characters.
Arabic is the only other alphabet that I’ve spent a serious amount of time learning (and that was in undergrad), and colour-wise, it was just really hard to figure out what was going on. Obviously the words for the letters as transcribed in the Latin alphabet would have colours just like any word, and sometimes those colours would transfer, ish, to the Arabic shapes when I was thinking about them together, but sometimes they kind of wouldn’t, or they’d end up with a slightly different colour? It was also hard because I never quite got past the sounding-out stage with Arabic (I only had a few very common words that I could read at a glance), so if I was sounding out a word letter-by-letter it was hard to get its colours. Arabic letters that looked a lot like their Latin equivalents (lam, kaf) were pretty solidly the same colour though. It’s just really hard to describe since I’m not quite sure what’s going on myself. Any other grapheme-colour synesthetes with relevant experiences?
Numbers, actually, are also pretty weird for me, because obviously 2 and two have the same colour since I made that connection super early, but deux and zwei are both different colours. (Possibly related: I’m curiously bad at relating number names and their symbols in other languages, especially considering that I have no problem with relating letter names and their symbols. If anyone knows of research on this, do let me know.)
Also on linguistics/synesthesia, I seem to have more vivid colours (reds and greens and blues and purples) for the least sonorant consonants, and murkier colours (shades of yellow and brown) for the most sonorant consonants. Vowels are bright-ish but tend to get overshadowed in words by their neighbouring consonants. However, I know another linguist+synesthete who has the inverse: for her, the more sonorant letters (sounds?) are more vivid than the less sonorant ones. I’m not sure if sonority is relevant for all grapheme or sound synesthetes, but at least many seem to have a difference in status between consonants and vowels. So, it’s graphemes (c has a colour that matches neither k nor s and doesn’t change with how it’s pronounced) but certain phonetic properties are also relevant.
(Note that I am avoiding naming the specific colours that specific graphemes correspond to for me because although non-synesthetes find it fascinating, I find it really uncomfortable to see or visualize the “wrong” colour associations, and I’ve heard similar things from at least some other grapheme-colour synesthetes. Which, yes, gives us the curious irony that demonstrations of synesthesia are potentially painful for synesthetes to experience.)
I just wanted to take the time to write how thankful I am for my sisters this past week! I was sick with a crazy virus and am still under the weather but I didn’t even have to worry about missing classes and being behind. Whether it was Melanie subbing in for me in Wind Ensemble, Nicole sitting in urgent care with me for hours, Shari and Nicole helping me stay on top of my schoolwork, or Meg pretty much being my doctor and on call to come help at a moment’s notice, I couldn’t be more grateful. Sisterhood really is about having each other’s backs and I felt that this week. I wouldn’t have been back on my feet so quickly without everyone’s love and support and that’s part of what I love so much about this sisterhood!
Sister appreciation post! I love these ladies that hold down the flute studio with me (stephspie and fearlessovereverything). We had a lovely breakfast together with out flute professor to kick off finals week a few days ago. Don’t forget to send some love to your favorite sisters throughout the holiday season!! Love and Roses from saietarho!
These two are part of an aviation fraternity, I’ll update this with the phone number of the head of the frat
Update:These two hold positions in the Alpha Eta Rho fraternity (iota Rho chapter I believe) to contact the frats main officer Anthony Johnson:
National Executive Director Office: (877) 410-1929 Ext. 1 Email: ExecutiveDirector@AlphaEtaRho.org