Lexember 11: Vur is for…

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váantam san [ˈβaːn.tam san], which is one of the four cardinal directions. It means “away from the Lagendeda river”, so the absolute direction depends on location; it means “south” when describing things south of the Lagendeda river and “north” when describing things north of the Lagendeda. For example, instead of saying “I’m heading south”, someone who’s currently south of the river would say Váantam san mabnan “I’m going away from the Lagendeda”.

The root noun váanat is no longer used outside of this set phrase, but once meant “highland”.

The opposite of váantam san is múnzum an [ˈmun.zum an] “towards the river” (the postposition is different because muran “river” is grammatically animate). For east and west, Kharulian switches to the more familiar sun-based terms, with aúudum san [aˈuː.dum] “east”, literally “towards the sunrise”; and khyókodom san [ˈço.ko.dɔm] “west”, literally “towards the sunset”.

As Kharulian scholars spread across the continent, relying on a regional landmark became less and less helpful. Absolute usage, with váantam san always being “north”, started appearing in 4th century writings, and by the 6th century this usage was near-universal.

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