Re: The names "left" and "right" Lassi Kortela 05 Jun 2020 17:07 UTC
> For the first application, we use "Right" in the sense of right = true > = correct = ok. That's clever. I had never noticed the intentional pun. > In this case, Ok/Err would also be ok (another pun not intended). > > Indeed, the ambiguity between the meanings 'opposite of left' and > 'straight, correct' goes back to Proto-Indo-European six thousand years > ago. Pretty wild. > I was going to say that Lassi, who speaks a Uralic language, is > excused from noticing this pun, but it seems that Finnish _suora_ has > both meanings too, probably because its root is borrowed from Common > Germanic _sta-_ 'stand'. In Hungarian (very distantly related to > Finnish) they are utterly different. The Finnish words for left and right are "vasen" and "oikea". Like its English counterpart, "oikea" shares the connotation of "correct": "oikea vastaus" is both literally and figuratively equivalent to "the right answer". "Suora" means "straight" (as in a straight line). It is a literal word only and does not have figurative connotations such as "correct". However, the inflection "suoraan" means "directly" and is used semi-figuratively to say that something is accomplished in the easiest or fastest way. I don't know any Hungarian, sadly. > At least English uses "Go straight!" and "Go right!" as unambiguous > driving directions. This is the case (no pun intended) here as well. "Mene suoraan" (go straight) and "käänny oikealle" (turn right).