Saturday, May 28, 2005

Up is North, I say!

If you've ever talked about driving directions with me, you have probably heard me grumble about people who talk of driving "down" north or "up" south and how confusing I find it. Apparently I'm not the only one who doesn't like mental directions meddled with.

That blogger, John Cowan, was the guy in charge of the Conlang-L mailing list. I wonder if it's only linguistically sensitive people that are troubled by direction-mismatch? Need a larger sample size...

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3 comments:

Forrest said...

I used to correct people when they use "up" for south, but I don't anymore. The direction our maps are printed are northern-hemispherocentric; and there's plenty of maps that don't use north = top. It seems rather arbitrary to insist that north is up.

Arthaey said...

I think I'd be curious of, not confused by, someone using "up" for south if their culture's maps used that convention normally. But when I'm talking with others from my own north-is-up map tradition, I get momentarily confused.

I'll grant you that it is arbitrary, but it's also fairly consistently used in all the maps I've seen personally.

John Cowan said...

Hi there, Arthaey: thanks for the link.