Compass directions

Posted by Mark Rosenfelder on 00:22 9/14/01

In reply to: Pangram posted by Philip Newton on 9:26 9/11/01

are the compass directions (N S E W = nan er sar tel) in Verdurian only nouns, or can they be adjectives or adverbs as well?

Just nouns and adjectives, as we'll see below.

For example, how would one translate 10 cemisî south of Pelym? I can imagine any of

None of the above. :( I would write azh Pelymán erán po dec cemisen. And "south of Pelym" is simply azh Pelymán erán.

And how about southern Viminia? Is that er Vimínë, which sounds to me more like the south of Viminia (which, admittedly, has a similar meaning)? Or maybe erise/erete/erë Vimínia?

If it's a fixed part of the region's name, it's (somewhat boringly) Er Vimínia. You can find a few names like this on the Verduria Province map, such as Nan Oripër and Er Oripër.

The one grammatical oddity is that the direction in a region's name is declined as a noun. That is, it doesn't agree with the toponym in gender. (Another example is the town Sarsasna 'eastern pine' in Krasnaya.)

Note that when the expression is old enough, the direction simply fuses to the name and is no longer declined: Lädam Sarnáen, we're going to Sarnáe. Eretald is another example.

For non-regions, the direction is an adjective. We can distinguish between tela mazhtana "the western (part of) the city" and mazhtana telán "a city to the west". You can also say so tel mazhtane "the west of the city", or even so nan Vimínë "the south of Viminia".

(You'd almost think I chose nan 'north' to confuse Chinese speakers. Or perhaps it means the same thing: closer to the equator!)

And is Viminia is west of Caizura translated as Vimínia zet tróue im (soán) telán Caizure? Or perhaps Vimínia zet tróue telece Caizure or something like that?

I'd say Vimínia zet tróue azh Caizuran telán.

How would one express North Elbonia or Lower Slobovia, if that's a country name? For example, there's a difference between west(ern) Germany and West Germany (the second no longer exists, while the first just describes a region inside a country). Is northern Elbonia nanise/nanete/nanë Elbonia while North Elbonia would be Nan-Elbonia or something like that? Or is no distinction made?

Nan Elbónia, which could be either "North" or "Northern Elbonia". As above, you could say (so) nan Elbónë for "the north of Elbonia."

And would Lower Slobovia be Hip-Slobovia, by analogy with upper which is translated as ir = above in Eng2Ver? Or maybe Basë Slobovia? And are their pals further into the mountains Ir-Slobovia or Altë Slobovia?

I'd say Ira Slobóvia and Basë Slobóvia-- these are regular adjectives. Ir can be a preposition or an adjective:

Soa musca letne ir mettan. The fly flew above the table.
Soa musca letne soan iran mettan. The fly flew to the upper table.

How about He lives in the South? Zhesei im soán erán, perhaps?

Better: Zhese erán. Though the above seems correct to me also.

Finally, is there a traditional order in Verdurian for reciting the compass directions? English and German both have North, South, East, West and Norden, Süden, Osten, Westen, but Japanese, for example, has 東西南北 tou-zai-nan-boku or East, West, South, North.

Remember Zon Erei: the most important direction to the ancient Cadinorians was the south, since that was their part of the world. Next most important was the west, where Cuzei was; then the north, where the Monkhayu still lived; finally the east, for the "demon worshippers" as Shm Revouse calls them. (That this was considered least important suggests how ancient this conception must have been.)

And what about compass directions in between? English, German, and French have northeast, Nordost(en), and nord-est (that is, first north-south, then east-west), while Japanese has 東北 touhoku/higashikita or east-north (that is, with the two components in the opposite order). Does Verdurian have sarnan or nansar? Or maybe some other compound of the two words such as sarise/sarete/sarë nan eastern north or sar nanei east of north? And how is (something is located) northeast of ... expressed?

I like nansar, nantel, ersar, ertel. These act like the ordinary directions: thus, Kebri zet tróue azh Erenatán nantelán.

Thanks for the very interesting questions! I'll have to modify the dictionary to include more examples.

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