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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    In some, at least, countries of the Northern Hemisphere, there is an association south=noon and north=midnight. In Slavic languages, the words for north and south are (or in some were) midnight and noon (in Russian, полночь and полдень). In Italian there is, obviously, the same association, since they named their southern part of the country Mezzogiorno (meaning noon). What about English? Is there anything similar in your language?
    Last edited by GeneD; 18-Apr-2020 at 11:28.
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

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    #2

    Re: south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    No.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    It seems backwards to me. The sun is directly above at noon. I would expect noon to be north (i.e. up).

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    We do east = start of day and west = end of day.

    That's about it.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #5

    Re: south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    It seems backwards to me. The sun is directly above at noon. I would expect noon to be north (i.e. up).
    I don't know your current location; if you are in Florida, then maybe because you are pretty close to the Tropic of Cancer the sun is (or seems very much so) right above you. But the higher the latitude the more obvious to the observer that the sun in the noon time is slightly on the south, not right above you. (I'm speaking about the Northern Hemisphere, of course.)
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

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    #6

    Re: south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    We do east = start of day and west = end of day.

    That's about it.
    Thanks, Charlie. Could you please give an example sentence to let me see how you use it or used it in the past? In Russian, for instance, we see or hear such usage nowadays only in folklore.

    I became interested in this sort of thing because I'm reading the Kalevala, and the Russian translator chose the old Russian words for north and south - midnight and noon. That's pretty interesting because it seems very natural to associate these words in the north, at least, where the story takes place. Just like west and east are used in English, if I understand you correctly, midnight and noon also can be used very naturally in the higher latitudes. Inside the polar circle, for example, in summer, one can see the sun even at midnight and it'll be in the north. At the same time, calling the north midnight can be very strange if you live in the middle latitudes where there is no sun at midnight at all even in summer. And even in this case using noon for south remains pretty natural since they use it in Italy. Are you sure there is no such usage of noon in English? Maybe in folk songs or some old scriptures?
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

  7. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    Thanks, Charlie. Could you please give an example sentence to let me see how you use it or used it in the past? In Russian, for instance, we see or hear such usage nowadays only in folklore.

    I became interested in this sort of thing because I'm reading the Kalevala, and the Russian translator chose the old Russian words for north and south - midnight and noon. That's pretty interesting because it seems very natural to associate these words in the north, at least, where the story takes place. Just like west and east are used in English, if I understand you correctly, midnight and noon also can be used very naturally in the higher latitudes. Inside the polar circle, for example, in summer, one can see the sun even at midnight and it'll be in the north. At the same time, calling the north midnight can be very strange if you live in the middle latitudes where there is no sun at midnight at all even in summer. And even in this case using noon for south remains pretty natural since they use it in Italy. Are you sure there is no such usage of noon in English? Maybe in folk songs or some old scriptures?

    Judging from where the sun is rising, that way must be east.

    The sun is going down in front of us, so I guess we're heading west.


    I did not mean to imply that east and west are synonyms for sunrise and sunset. I just meant that that's what they're associated with. We do not associate noon and midnight with north or south.

    Sometimes we use times to indicate direction:

    - A knob can be turned to a time of day: "Turn the dial to three o'oclock" means turn it so the pointer points right.

    - The location of an object can be described with a time of day: "Look out! There's a fighter at twelve o'clock!" means it's straight ahead. (Example: Twelve O'Clock High.)

    But calling north midnight would make no sense whatsoever, no matter what. In English, thet are not synonyms.

    And yes, I'm also absolutely positive that noon never means south in English. Those aren't synonyms, either. Not in folk songs, not in scripture, not in ordinary conversation. No one would have any idea what you're talking about.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 21-Apr-2020 at 13:10.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  8. Colee's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    (NOT A TEACHER)

    English is composed from mostly Germanic languages so I believe they would have more similarities. Although we all share the Latin language (most of us) so some words are generated from there.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 21-Apr-2020 at 13:42. Reason: Add "NOT A TEACHER"

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    #9

    Re: south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post

    Judging from where the sun is rising, that way must be east.

    The sun is going down in front of us, so I guess we're heading west.
    I thought you meant that you could say "heading sunset". Like in Polish where the west is zachód (sunset) and the east
    wschód (sunrise).

    Calling north midnight makes no sense, no matter wat.
    In the previous post, I explained that inside the polar circle the sun is seen at night in summer and the sun is in the north at midnight. Why are you saying there is no sense in naming the north so "no matter what"? I've been to the Kola Peninsula and seen the midnight sun, and I can tell you there is nothing exotic about the usage of "midnight" in the sense of "north" when you see it with your own eyes. Or did you mean that it makes no sense in English?

    Yes, I'm absolutely positive that noon never means south in English. Those aren't synonyms, either. Not in folk songs, not in scripture, not in ordinary conversation. No one would have any idea what you're talking about.
    Thanks.
    Last edited by GeneD; 21-Apr-2020 at 13:27.
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

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    #10

    Re: south=noon, north=midnight (?)

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    I don't know your current location; if you are in Florida, then maybe because you are pretty close to the Tropic of Cancer the sun is (or seems very much so) right above you. But the higher the latitude the more obvious to the observer that the sun in the noon time is slightly on the south, not right above you. (I'm speaking about the Northern Hemisphere, of course.)
    "Directly above" was a poor choice of words. The sun is at its highest point of the day at noon (more or less, give or take your exact spot in relation to the time zone).

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