Where "down" is in New England.

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Aug 9 15:04:58 UTC 2010

At 10:19 AM -0400 8/9/10, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>In his as usual entertaining "On Language" column in the NYTimes last
>Sunday ("Beach Blanket Lingo"), Ben Zimmer wrote:
>"The down of "down the shore" and "down the ocean" doesn't
>necessarily imply a southward journey. As in many dialects along the
>Eastern Seaboard, down can be used as a preposition indicating
>movement from the inland toward the shoreline."
>I am disappointed that Ben did not distinguish and elaborate for the
>New England seaboard, where "down east" means "*up* (north[east]ward)
>towards Maine."
Indeed, a bit of local geotrivia that I've always filed alongside the
fact that on Cape Cod the "lower Cape" (Provincetown, Truro,
Wellfleet) is due north of the "upper Cape"--Chatham, Hyannis, and
the scrumptious destinations marked by that immortal sign on Route 6



The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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