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On Mon, 11 Aug 2008 09:44:32 -0400, Jim Henry wrote:
>> Compass directions, maybe? I would assume any language distinguishing
>> roots for any of the intercardinals should also distinguish some for the
>> cardinals.
>
>That's a sensible hypothesis.  Do you know of any languages that
>have roots for the intercardinals rather than deriving them from
>cardinals?

Finnish; clockwise from North, _pohjoinen koillinen itš kaakko etelš lounas lšnsi 
luode_. The only completely opaque ones are SE, SW and W, but eg. _itš_ 
being a zero-derivation of the verbal root "to germinate" isn't exactly 
transparent, either. :)

IIUC this system was standardized together from quite a few dialects, none of 
which consistently differentiated all eight terms.

John Vertical