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William Wright <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I've noticed that, in English, "North" is associated with "up" and
> "South" is associated with "down". This, and the ensuing train of
> thought, raised a few questions:
>
> 1. Why is this? Is it just happenstance or is there a definite cause?

Education, perhaps, is the root cause of this phenomenon. Maps,
geography books and classroom globes all show Europe, Asia and
North America -- (jingoism alert!) all the Important Countries (or
rather, all the countries that produced maps, geography books,
atlases and globes) at the top. Particularly on a globe. You've got 
to stand on your head to see Australia or South Africa or 
Antarctica.

Jingoism aside, the orientation does kind of make sense: if you
look a globe centered on the south pole, you'll find that most of
Earth's land mass is up on the northern side -- Australia, the
southern 2/3 of South America and southern third of Africa are
"down" there, everything else is "up" here!

> 2. Are there any examples of this in other nat-/conlangs?

Maps in the Eastlands of The World are generally oriented towards the
east, towards the Ocean of Sunrise, but east isn't associated with "up".
The sky is "up", as even the most uneducated know well! Sunrise is
before one, sunset behind, the nameless North is to the left and the
Sunlands to the right. This orientation is not universal, and you do
find north facing and south facing maps. Very few west facing maps,
though.

I don't think they have globes. Kind of odd that, really.

> 3. Is there a pattern to how languages make these associations bewteen
> directions? If so, why?
> 4. Whether or not the former option of the latter question in 1 is
> true, what might induce speakers of a language to do something like
> this, in reality or in ficiton?

Again, I would posit that education and a broad(er) perspective might
lead to this kind of association. 

Another possibility is the location of the Pole Star. That might also lead to
the association of up and north.