right straight?

A forum for discussing US dialects (accents).
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right straight?

Postby nurseshark » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:34 pm

So I went to the cherry blossom festival in DC the other day, and we stopped to ask some locals for directions..

me, "can you point me towards union station?"
local, "you go straight left down the road there and then make a right."

everyone else in the car got confused, but i knew we were supposed to make an immediate left, followed later by a right. These "locals" were obviously from Virginia, where we use the word "straight" often as in dication of correctness, particularly while giving directions. if the local had wanted me to go straight without making turns, he would have said, "go right down the road there." or "go right straight down the road there". It's considered improper to say, "go right" and mean take a right turn.. for that action you'd say, "take a right", or "turn right"

lesson of the story. be wary when you ask directions from a virginian.

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Postby Perry » Tue Apr 04, 2006 9:40 am

I recall writing in the old Agora how in Israel it seemed to me (based on the oral directions that I often received) that every place in the country would be found by going, "straight, straight, straight [an idiom for going straight for some distance] and then right".

I later observed that these are the default directions that many Israelis will give when they don't really know where someplace is, but won't admit their ignorance of geography.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."

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