This week’s character – red (and some weather lore)

Simple one this week, the colour red: week13 hy21. This can also mean ‘red mouth’ because it is a combination of the characters for mouth and a fire. Fire by itself  - fire- pronounced mi33, can also be read hy21, a simpler way of writing ‘red’.

The character brings to mind a really neat piece of Naxi weather lore which I stumbled upon the other day and is shared by people the world over:


pronunciation: k’v55 tɕi33 hy21 so21 mɯ33 t’v33

English word for word: dusk / cloud / red / dawn / sky / clear

translation: Red sky at dusk, clear sky in the morning


pronunciation: sp21 tɕi33 hy21 k’v55 mɯ33 dza33

English word for word: dawn / cloud / red / dusk / sky / fearsome

translation: Red sky at dawn, bad weather in the evening

In the UK this sentiment is sometimes expressed more lyrically as ‘red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning’.

2 thoughts on “This week’s character – red (and some weather lore)

  1. I notice that this is a copular construction with no copula. The English version you gave also lacks one, but that is not grammatically normal for English, being reserved for idioms and variations of them. In Manchu it is a normal construction. Is this construction one of the normal ways to predicate a subject in Naxi?

    • Yeah, as far as I’m aware this is not normal speech and merely a construction used with idioms and the like.

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