On Sat, 26 Jun 1993, Daniel F. Melia wrote:
> Erynn suggests that Irish lacks a lexeme for "being north"
> (or in any direction), but only has terms for going to or
> going from. Classical Old Irish has the full set:
> "in/at the north = the left" _tuaid_; "to north/left",
> _fa-thuaith_, sa-thuaith_; "from north/left",
> _an-tuaid_, _a-tuaid_. [see R. Thurneysen, _Grammar
> of Old Irish_, par. 483.] The system of "where, whence,
> whither" is the same for all directions including the
> unspecified ones of "here", "there" "below" etc.
> all assume an upright human facing east.
Dan -- I was speaking largely from my experience with Modern Irish.
Although I did take a course on Old Irish earlier this year, I am not
familiar enough with the language to be able to pull that material from
out of my head (the Thurneysen sits in another room and not next to my
I have noted that directional concepts tend to be quite fluid,
particularly when one is attempting to =describe= direction "from here" to
"over there" (wherever there might happen to be). I'd offer as an example
of this, the notes in =A Ring of Dancers= on Faroese culture, particularly
the example of "directions from a village dock" wherein three separate
directions are differently identified as "north".
I don't have the book to hand at exactly this moment or I would provide
you with the author and page numbers (sorry).