Where "down" is in Old England

Lynne Murphy m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK
Wed Aug 11 10:10:32 UTC 2010

When I first came to England, members of the Scrabble club I joined (read:
pensioners with opinions about language) informed me that one could only go
'up' to London and that this was based on the way the railways use the
term.  When I tried that out on younger sorts, they disagreed and were more
likely to go with _up_ = 'northward'.

London is pretty much due north of us here in Brighton, though, so I don't
have a good sense of how much _down_='southward' is used versus
_up_='toward London' when one is in a position to choose.


--On den 10 augusti 2010 11:53 +0100 Damien Hall <djh514 at YORK.AC.UK> wrote:

> Outside the Oxford and Cambridge context, as has been remarked, one can go
> 'up' to London from anywhere in the country, but it's my impression
> (confirmed by a straw poll here in the office) that only high-society
> people do that. So a high-society person might go up to London from his
> family seat in the North of the country; for everyone else, the
> geographical 'up = North' sense trumps everything.

Dr M Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics
Director of English Language and Linguistics
School of English
Arts B348
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QN

phone: +44-(0)1273-678844

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

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