[Lingtyp] Languages with connotations for 'left' and 'right'

Randy J. LaPolla randy.lapolla at gmail.com
Sun Mar 3 02:42:17 UTC 2019

Dear Piet,

> But was that stage left?  or audience left?

In Chinese, the expression 男左女右 ‘man left, woman right’, at least in portraits, originally referred to stage left and right, i.e. from the perspective of the people in the portrait, but most people nowadays interpret this expression to be audience left and right. So the perspective can change over time.

Randy J. LaPolla, PhD FAHA (羅仁地)
Professor of Linguistics, with courtesy appointment in Chinese, School of Humanities 
Nanyang Technological University
HSS-03-45, 48 Nanyang Ave | Singapore 639818
http://randylapolla.net/ <http://randylapolla.net/>
Most recent books:
The Sino-Tibetan Languages, 2nd Edition (2017)
https://www.routledge.com/The-Sino-Tibetan-Languages-2nd-Edition/LaPolla-Thurgood/p/book/9781138783324 <https://www.routledge.com/The-Sino-Tibetan-Languages-2nd-Edition/LaPolla-Thurgood/p/book/9781138783324>
Sino-Tibetan Linguistics (2018)
https://www.routledge.com/Sino-Tibetan-Linguistics/LaPolla/p/book/9780415577397 <https://www.routledge.com/Sino-Tibetan-Linguistics/LaPolla/p/book/9780415577397>
> On 3 Mar 2019, at 3:20 AM, piet lincoln <linc at hawaii.rr.com> wrote:
> What about political use?
> We all know "left"  for progressive as opposed to "right" for conservative?
> from seating of the French revolutionary parliament?
> But was that stage left?  or audience left?   where the "left" sat?
> just asking
> Piet
> Piet as an homage to Danish polymath, Piet Hein.
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