Where "down" is in New England.

Rick Barr rickbarremail at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 9 16:06:12 UTC 2010

Now I see it's a prevalent phenomenon when "up" is regarded as the center,
but I do recall that when I asked Hebrew speakers in Israel why people went
"up" to Jerusalem, the explanation was that Jerusalem was perceived as being
a spiritual high ground. Some of these connotations may have been stirred
into other "ups."

-- Rick

On Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 11:59 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Where "down" is in New England.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 11:01 AM -0400 8/9/10, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
> >
> >Ah, if only there was room to pick apart all of these niceties! I
> >would direct interested readers to the DARE entry for "down," which is
> >"used variously to indicate direction toward or away from a center, to
> >a lower elevation, downstream, etc." Two relevant New England cites:
> >
> >---
> >1943 LANE Map 720 (Up in Boston). On the eastern seaboard, from
> >Narragansett Bay to New Brunswick... down means 'away from Boston' or
> >'down toward the sea' ... On Narragansett Bay .. down means 'toward
> >the sea.'
> >---
> >1983 Beyle How Talk Cape Cod 34, You can often tell just who is native
> >to the place and who's not by their sense of direction. For instance,
> >you go "down" to Provincetown here, not "up"--even though you'll be
> >traveling north for the most part.
> >---
> >
> Ah, whence also those Lower/Upper Cape locutions, I presume.
> There's also the "up (to)" and "down (from)" where the target is
> London or a university encountered in the context of British novels
> (and real life, I assume) which I realized at some point had nothing
> to do with map directions.  The OED (s.v. DOWN adv.) has
> 2. To some place which is conventionally viewed as lower in position;
> in the direction of a current, or with the wind; from the capital to
> the distant parts of a country; away from a university
> with a typical relevant cite:
> "I am in college, and there I intend to remain till I go down."
> (_Cambridge Staircase_, 1883)
> I forget whether one goes down from one's university to London or up
> to London; could it be either, depending on the context and worldview?
> LH
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