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    #1

    south=upstream?

    Dear Teachers,

    I read these from The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy:

    1....the Nile rises in the south, and when you go up the river, naturally, you go south, finally arriving in Upper Egypt, with Lower Egypt away up north. The ancient Egyptian word for south was "upstream." It was the wrong word.

    If Upper Egypt = the south part of the Nile = upstream, why would the author say it was the wrong word?

    2.In accordance with custom, he had to marry some of his sisters and half sisters, not to mention one of his stepmothers and perhaps other close female connections with exactly the same line of family jokes and reminiscences.

    What does "the same line of family jokes and reminiscences" mean?

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: south=upstream?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eway View Post
    Dear Teachers,

    I read these from The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy:

    1....the Nile rises in the south, and when you go up the river, naturally, you go south, finally arriving in Upper Egypt, with Lower Egypt away up north. The ancient Egyptian word for south was "upstream." It was the wrong word.

    If Upper Egypt = the south part of the Nile = upstream, why would the author say it was the wrong word?
    I don't know about Will Cuppy, but it sounds like typical neo-colonialist prejudice against the South. In most languages - especially those of the developed countries - there are many metaphors that exploit the idea that "UP > MORE/BETTER", and by a political accident (major geographers lived in the Northern Hemisphere) the maps we are used to make the association of North with up.

    So the word wasn't wrong. It was at odds with Will Cuppy's prejudice (or maybe I do him an injustice, and he was referring to a similar prejudice).

    Incidentally, there is a similar usage in English. Railway stations north of London habitually refer to 'Up trains' that go to London.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eway View Post
    2.In accordance with custom, he had to marry some of his sisters and half sisters, not to mention one of his stepmothers and perhaps other close female connections with exactly the same line of family jokes and reminiscences.

    What does "the same line of family jokes and reminiscences" mean?
    The women he married had the same family memories and stories.

    b

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