Where "down" is in Old England
mailbox at GRAMMARPHOBIA.COM
Fri Aug 13 16:55:30 UTC 2010
On Wed., 11 Aug 2010, Lynne Murphy <m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK> wrote:
> 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.
I've always been fascinated by the "ups" and the "downs" in 19th-century English novels (my favorite reading).
Here's a sentence from Trollope's The Eustace Diamonds (the journey referred to begins in London): "Lady Eustace had been rather cross on the journey down to Scotland."
And later: " 'My cousin attends me down to Scotland.' "
In all, the phrase "down to Scotland" appears 12 times in the novel and "down in Scotland" 10 times, all from the perspective of points to the south, mostly London.
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