Muke Tever writes: > From: "J Y S Czhang" <[log in to unmask]> > > "We know where the future is. It's in front of us. Right? It lies before > > us - a great future lies before us - we stride forward confidently into it, > > every commencement, every election year. And we know where the past is. > > Behind us, right? So that we have to turn around to see it, and that > > interrupts our progress ever forward into the future, so we don't really much > > like to do it. > > Even though English doesn't do this.. "[be]fore" and "aft[er]" (in front of and > behind) go with "before" and "after" (earlier and later). > > Spanish does the same thing: "antes" means "before" (both 'in front of' and > 'earlier'). > > So why *do* we see "what happened before now" as abaft us, and not before us? > Possibly... if we imagine life as a view moving perpetually forward through _space_, and the events as taking place at points that are stationary, and the view moves towards them and passes it. Events before the passing are in front of the view, and those after the passing are behind. It's very strange to contrast this with the idea of the present moving forward through the future, because it reverses the meaning of everything. I've noticed certain other... ambiguities, apparent contradictions, in time-related language in English. For example "the good old days" - the days are old, because they've "been around" a long time(!) but they could equally be called the "young days" because anything that's old now was younger then.