Pretty in pink
In Spanish, that same colour is rosa and also has an obvious flowery origin (origen, el), namely, the rose.
Some of the associations of pink/rosa are very similar. For example, although the use is now rather dated, rosa was at one stage used to refer to the gay community, just as pink is used in English for the pink pound, the pink economy, and so on.
In verlo todo del color de rosa (literally “to see everything coloured pink”), meaning “to see everything through rose-tinted or coloured spectacles/glasses ”, the idea is paralleled in each language (idioma, el); Spanish speakers just don’t need to wear the gigs to be optimists.
…que yo no soy la típica soñadora romántica que ve el mundo color de rosa, yo creo más en la existencia de Shrek que de la historia de Cenicienta…
“I am not your typical romantic dreamer who sees the world through rose-tinted spectacles; I believe in the existence of Shrek more than I do in the story of Cinderella…”
…las personas que se tienen que sentir optimistas a toda costa o el optimista necio que ve todo color de rosa y da una explicación simplista e1 inmediata.
“People who have to feel optimistic whatever happens or the stupid optimist who sees everything through rose-tinted spectacles and gives off-the-cuff, simplistic explanations.”
Taking that rosy view further still is the phrase una novela rosa, which would be the kind (género) of book a Hispanic Barbara Cartland would write. In fact, so I’m told, there is a sort of Hispanic Barbara Cartland, and her name is Corín Tellado. She published so much that in 1962 UNESCO named her the most widely read writer in Spanish after Cervantes. Unlike (a diferencia de) Babs C, however, her books are set in the present (el presente), and because many of them were written when Francoist censorship still applied, there is no explicit eroticism.
La prensa rosa is the kind of tittle-tattle2 press that concentrates on the love lives of celebrities. Fittingly, its most famous exponent, “Hello” magazine (revista), was founded (se fundó) in Spain as “Hola” over 70 years ago (1944), and was originally less concerned with tawdry, meretricious, sleb glamour than it is now.
This blogger clearly detests that kind of press:
El pueblo español dormita entre el opio de la prensa rosa y el estupidizante espectáculo de millonarios en calzoncillos dando patadas a una pelota.
“The Spanish populace is in a slumber, drugged by celebrity journalism and the stultifying spectacle of millionaires in briefs kicking a football around.” (My very free translation.)
Another idiom that brings in rosa and associates it with positive events and emotions is color de rosa, which suggests that things are going well — often, but not always, in the phrase ser todo color de rosa:
En poco tiempo se conocieron, noviaron y se casaron. Todo era color de rosa, más o menos, hasta que llegó el tercer miembro de la familia.
“In a short space of time they met, started dating, and married. Everything was going swimmingly, more or less, until the third member of the family arrived.”
Actually, life being what it is, this phrase is more often used in the negative, as in the following extract from an anguished blog post:
Tenemos ya casi 3 años y siento que ya no quiero más nada con él. Cuando comenzamos era todo color de rosa…pero ahora todo se ha vuelto un infierno…
“We’ve been together almost 3 years and I feel I don’t want to have anything more to do with him. When we started it was all perfect, but now it’s turned to hell…”
How to translate no ser todo color de rosa exactly will vary according to the individual context, but sometimes the English idiom “a bed of roses” could come into it, as in this extract in which a professional baseball player in the Dominican Republic laments how hard life can be:
Muchos ignoran, las infinitas prácticas que hay que tomar para mejorar, la paciencia que hay que tener durante semanas que las cosas no te salen bien … No todo es color de rosa, en ese mundo donde todo es béisbol, desde que te levantas hasta que te acuestas.
“Lots of people aren’t aware of the endless practising that you have to do to improve, or the patience you have to have week after week when things aren’t going right for you. It’s not all a bed of roses, in this world where everything is baseball, from the time you get up till you go to bed.”
As with other adjectives ending in –a, as discussed here, you don’t change the shape of rosa, no matter what kind of noun you associate it with: un vestido rosa, unos vestidos rosa. And, as with those other adjectives, you can also say de color rosa, e.g. un vestido de color rosa.
Finally, in a very literal use of rosa, salsa rosa (“pink sauce”) describes the blend of mayonnaise (mahonesa), tomato sauce and other ingredients, according to taste – a bit of brandy really peps it up, I find – that goes with seafood (los mariscos). In Britain, where it was once traditional to obliterate the flavour of the prawns (gambas) with a sickly gloop, it is called Marie Rose sauce, and in the US, Thousand Island dressing.
Some “pink” things are not rosa, but rosado. Vino rosado is “rosé wine” and the Casa Rosada in Argentina is the pinkish-painted presidential palace, immortalized by Madonna, I mean Eva Perón.
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So, now we’ve done “red and yellow and pink and green, purple and…”
Stop! We haven’t done “purple”.
Some people say it goes “…purple and orange and blue” and others that “orange” comes before “purple.” The first, “I can confirm”, is the canonical order (orden). (I just loathe that journalistic tic “The BBC/Telegraph/etc. can confirm…”)
Purple. Morado. A word that comes from mora, “blackberry.” So, perhaps it ought to translate as “Deep Purple.” (Oh, no! I’ve just put mental earplugs in, but my brain is still being bombarded by memories of heaveee met-uhl riffs. The only way out (salida) is death.)
I digress. Something that is typically morado is…well, things that are typically morado are repollo (“cabbage”) and cebolla (“onion”), which is, chromatically speaking, a more accurate description, let’s face it, than English “red” cabbage and onion.
However, these images (imágenes) suggest that it is a rather sombre shade of purple:
Other idioms that make use of this colour are:
un ojo morado – a black eye – it’s purple before it goes black, so Spanish speakers are obviously used to catching and describing them fresh.
pasarlas moradas – to be having a really tough time
Las estoy pasando moradas pero soy incapaz de dejar de aportar las mensualidades pactadas con algunas ONG’ s.
“Things are really tough at the moment but I just cannot bring myself to cancel the monthly payments I’ve signed up for with some NGOs.”
1 The normal word y for “and” changes to e before a word beginning with another /i/ sound; if it didn’t, it would be awkward or imperceptible.
2 There doesn’t seem to be a single, all-purpose translation for prensa rosa. “Tabloids” seems too broad; I’ve opted for “celebrity journalism” above. I’ve seen “gossip press”, which certainly conveys the idea well, but “celebrity journalism” is more frequent in the corpora consulted.
3 Orden is one of that small group of hermaphroditic Spanish words. As el orden, it means “order” in the sense of “arrangement”, as in orden alfabético “alphabetical order”. As la orden, it means “order” in the sense of “command”. In Latin America in particular, someone providing a service might say ¡a sus órdenes! “at your service, sir/madam.” Note how you have to add an accent to the letter o- in the plural, to keep the word stress where it belongs. The same basic rule (words ending in -s or –n have stress on the penultimate syllable) inserts the accent in imágenes.
- ¿Verdadero o falso?
a. The colour pink and the flower “pink” are completely unrelated. V/F.
b. Una novela rosa is a detective story. V/F.
c. Rosé wine is vino rosado. V/F.
d. The word ¡Hola! means “goodbye”. V/F.
e. The word orden is masculine. V/F.
f. You stress the last syllable of the Spanish word la crisis. V/F.
a. Which version has the accent in the correct place? El orígen/origen de las especies de Darwin es considerado una obra maestra de la literatura científica.
b. Where does the accent go in the plural of the following words? el origen; la orden; el orden; una imagen.
c. Complete the words: La casa rosa__ es la sede del Poder Ejecutiv_ de la República Argentin_.
d. Can you find the words in this blog for the following: language; eye; explanation; more or less; magazine; prawn; sauce; onion; way out (=exit).