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The two-letter word UP
Thread poster: swisstell

swisstell
Italy
Local time: 03:19
German to English
+ ...
Dec 11, 2004

has perhaps more meanings than any other two-letter word:
It's easy to understand UP, meaning towards the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? -
We call UP our friends. We use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.-
At other times the little word has real special meaning: People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special. -
And this UP is confusing: a drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. -
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be savvy about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.- If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. -
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it does not rain for a while, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so time for me to shut UP ...!

Happy Holidays!


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 03:19
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
verbal prefixes in Hungarian Dec 12, 2004

Now, listen UP.

Hungarian uses a wide range of verbal prefixes (a dozen of them are used very often, some others less frequently). Certainly, the equivalent of "up" is one of the most frequently used.

If I translated the above passage into Hungarian, I would have used the equivalent of "up" in about 40-50% of the cases. In other cases, the equivalents of "out", "in" and "away" should have been used, while in 3 or 4 cases no such verbal prefixes would have been used.

In this respect, the usage of verbal prefixes is more diversified in Hungarian. Having said that, a large part of the vocabulary includes such prefixes where the equivalent English word is a simple word.

For example, "használ" simply means "use", but in a specific context, such as IT, the same "use" would be translated as "felhasznál", with "fel" being the equivalent of "up".


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:19
German to English
The two-letter word UP Dec 12, 2004

Hello SwissTell, could you let us know who wrote the text you presented here or give us a link to the source?

[Edited at 2004-12-12 17:31]


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swisstell
Italy
Local time: 03:19
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
got it in my email from a friend who got it from a friend, I suppose. Lighthearted stuff to relax by Dec 12, 2004

Kim Metzger wrote:

Hello SwissTell, could you let us know who wrote the text you presented here or give us a link to the source?

[Edited at 2004-12-12 17:31]


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:19
German to English
+ ...
If it were UP TO linguists Dec 14, 2004

to be the guardians of language as well as the "tweakers"...

But language is a living thing. In the UK, "up to" seems to have been replaced by "down to".

I wonder whether this is down to an Americanism creeping in and therefore feel it is up to me to politely enquire whether that is indeed the case, or whether it is just down to slipping standards?



Chris


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Shane H
English to Spanish
"Up" Dec 14, 2004

This post made me giggle a little.

Even though some of the uses here aren't standard or proper grammar, a lot of them are. Also, I think in many of them, "up" really has the same meaning, just with a different verb.
(For instance, "clean up," "dry up," "finish up." In all of these cases, 'up' seems to provide the effect that the action is not yet done but will soon be completed. "I'm going to finish this UP.")

Another annoying thing I've found- Whenever people are traveling across country, people usually say "Are you coming up?" even though the person's destination might be south of their current position, meaning that they are not coming up but coming down.


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Helmet80
Local time: 02:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good point Dec 19, 2004

I live in Kent. If someone I know from E Sussex is coming I always say 'are you coming down' even though it's very likely they are coming from the South West. If I'm in say Colchester (Essex, north of London) and they're coming I will ALWAYS say 'are you coming up'. So if there's any ambiguity or the difference between coming up and coming down is negligible I'll say 'down' but if someone's clearly travelling up I'll say 'up'.

Or maybe I'm just thinking too much!


Shane H wrote:

Another annoying thing I've found- Whenever people are traveling across country, people usually say "Are you coming up?" even though the person's destination might be south of their current position, meaning that they are not coming up but coming down.


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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:19
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
'Up' to 'town', 'up' to London Dec 19, 2004

Shane H wrote:

Another annoying thing I've found- Whenever people are traveling across country, people usually say "Are you coming up?" even though the person's destination might be south of their current position, meaning that they are not coming up but coming down.


In England, there is a long tradition of London dwellers talking about coming up to London, or more old-fashionedly 'coming up to town', and going down to the country, the provinces, a lot of other places, etc. On the other hand, people in other places in England and Britain often talk about coming up to where they are, and going down on the return journey, because it relates to where they are - sort of 'up, psychologically, on a personal map', in the same way as a person can walk up and down a street, and come up and go down a street, and one person's up can be another person's down(unless it's a hill
People in other places don't necessarily let Londoners get the idea that going to London (even though it's an interesting place) is the only way of going up in the world - or that going to other nice, interesting places is going down in the world! And they of course don't fail to point out that they are most of them north of London, or at least not south - and may be at slightly higher altitude.
On the other hand, the traditional explanation for 'coming up to London' is claimed to come from the birth and heyday of rail travel, when London was the 'railhead' (in the technical sense) of the surrounding railway network, and rail was king. It's said that on any railway line and network, 'up' is towards the railhead, and 'down' is away from the railhead ('down the line'), even if going down the line is uphill...
I wonder if there are any eighteenth century, pre-railway references that would spoil this theory.
It seems to me that the choice is up to us (it always feels more positive to me than 'down to us', so I'm for preserving this species in the wild life park of language - talking it up - but also maybe there's a slight difference, with 'down to you' having a flavour of last resort, and 'up to you' personal free choice - but it's up to each of us to decide whether it's imagination making that up... )
Perhaps it's a bit like maps, which usually have North at the top in modern times, but don't always have to - it's also natural to put home or a place that's important in your thoughts for any reason in the centre or at the summit, but each speaker is in the lucky position of being able to choose the linguistic cartographical convention that puts them in an upbeat mood - and not be up the spout whichever they choose.

[Edited at 2004-12-19 17:19]


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:19
German to English
+ ...
Going up / coming down.... Jan 15, 2005

I believe that in the UK rail system, "up" means in the direction of London.

However, the traditional univeristies have their own definition of "up" and "down". "Up" means "at university" (whichever of the two universities in question), and "down" means anywhere else. So after school you "go up", and miscreant students are not expelled, but "sent down". And a "coming down" was a holiday one took upon completing one's studies.... It fits in well with the "ivory tower" metaphor, I suppose.


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The two-letter word UP

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