Midi / midday

Aujourd’hui, 20 janvier, la déclinaison du soleil est égale à la latitude de Port-Louis. Aujourd’hui, 20 janvier, à Port-Louis, le soleil était au zénith à 12h21. A quelques minutes d’angle près, sa hauteur (altitude en anglais) était 90° :

Où se trouve le midi dans de telles conditions ?

Midi, subst. masc.
II.− [Désigne une notion d’espace]
A.− Un des quatre points cardinaux. Synon. sud.
En partic. [À propos de l’exposition (d’un lieu, d’un édifice) en face de ce point] Les plantes alpines sont toutes petites. Et il faut, pour que je choisisse les espèces, que vous me disiez si vous les exposerez au nord ou au midi (A. France, Pt bonh., 1898, 1).
B.− [Avec ou sans majuscule] Partie d’un pays, d’un ensemble géographique qui est la plus proche du sud. Le midi de l’Europe.
Étymologie et Historique
1. a) Ca 1100 « milieu du jour » (Roland, éd. J. Bédier, 1431;
2. a) ca 1140 « un des points cardinaux, le Sud » (Geffrei Gaimar, Hist. des Anglais, éd. A. Bell, 1643);
b) 1308 « exposition qui est en face du soleil à midi » (Texte cité ds Dehaisnes, Doc. hist. A. Flandre, t. 1, p. 184);
c) 1687 « les pays méridionaux » (La Fontaine, Epître à Mgr l’Evêque de Soissons ds Œuvres, éd. Régnier, t. 9, p. 204);
A ce propos, quelques discussions passées…

* * *

Sur A Bad Guide :

they remind me of north-facing damp places

I suppose you mean south-facing, don’t you? Because in my own experience that’s the damp side of places, where indeed you find most snails.

Now I have a BIG question, a question that I already asked on a (French) language blog. There was no answer. It’s to do with the word meridional. Here’s what the AHD has to say about it:

1. Of or relating to meridians or a meridian.
2. Located in the south; southern.
3. Of or characteristic of southern areas or people.
NOUN: An inhabitant of a southern region, especially the south of France.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, pertaining to the sun’s position at noon, from Old French meridionel, southern, from Late Latin merdinlis, from Latin merdinus, of midday, southern. See meridian.

So, more or less, meridional is “in the direction of the sun at midday” (which means that the sun is above your local meridian). In normal places this would mean that the sun is right to your south. Now what about abnormal places where the midday sun and mad dogs and Englishmen are in the north? In such countries, should the ‘inhabitants of northern region’ be called meridionals?

Suite de la dicsussion ici : http://abadguide.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/escargots/#comment-152

* * *

Sur Langue Sauce Piquante :

► “une chose me hante et personne jusqu’à l’heure n’a su me donner de réponse satisfaisante : dans l’hémisphère sud, les méridionaux sont-ils au nord ?
En Nouvelle-Zélande par exemple, on trouve une ville (Invercargill) tout au sud de l’île du sud. Pour ces sudistes-là, les habitants du nord (ceux d’Auckland par exemple) seraient-ils des méridionaux car situés dans la direction du soleil à midi, heure de la méridienne ?”

Résultat des courses jusqu’à présent :
Matthieu : oui
A1528 et une autre personne : bof…

Voir ici : http://correcteurs.blog.lemonde.fr/2006/06/01/2006_06_post/#comment-19601

* * *

Sur Le Petit Champignacien illustré :

[…] comme sur A Bad Guide (un blog caprin) on parlait d’escargots, en français dans le texte, et qu’on disait que le côté humide des bâtiments était leur côté nord — ceci étant pris comme une vérité universelle —, je me suis senti poussé à remettre certaines choses en perspective.

Il va de soi que la langue française, et par ricochet la langue anglaise, n’a jamais vraiment eu à se soucier des contrées pour lesquelles le soleil s’inclinait vers le nord plutôt que le sud, et qu’il s’agit là d’une extrapolation. Mais si on extrapole en se penchant sur l’origine du mot « méridional », issu du mot « méridien », il me semble qu’il serait assez légitime, dans l’hémisphère sud, de parler du midi, petit m-, comme étant situé au nord.

L’intégralité de la discussion ici : http://champignac.hautetfort.com/archive/2009/05/30/midi-le-juste.html

* * *

Il y a 7 mois de cela, un autre midi :

« Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. »


γ   λ   γ


Et puisque ces questions géo-astronomiques tournent manifestement à l’obsession chez le Martien lambda : Méridional, un billet daté du 20 janvier 2011.


19 réponses à “Midi / midday

  1. The important point isn’t that it is towards the north or south, but that it is towards the centre, or Equator.

    It would help if globes were constructed with the N-S axis horizontal rather than (almost) vertical as they are now. The Equator would spin vertically. No country would always be on the top or bottom.

    It’s harder to resolve with world maps. If you turn a map 90∘ so that West or East is at the top it’s better, but there is still someone living near the bottom.

  2. mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun
    It’s okay as long as it’s in the interests of science.

  3. It would help if globes were constructed with the N-S axis horizontal rather than (almost) vertical as they are now.

    That’s the case for Uranus. The angle between the rotation axis of this planet and its orbital plane is (almost) a right angle. This means that at a certain period of the « year », one pole is facing the sun: if at midday a Uranian Eskimo stands at this pole and takes a photo of his feet on the pavement, his shadow would fall between his shoes and the pole won’t have any shadow, just like on the picture above.

  4. A. J. P. Crown

    Also a Uranian penguin, don’t forget.

  5. Normally penguins don’t wear shoes.

  6. This is the first glimpse of our mysterious Siganus. He doesn’t look fat; at least, his arms don’t. It’s possible he’s short, though, at least judging by the length of his shadow. :~)

  7. What’s so mysterious about me?

    My arms don’t look fat? Mind you, I’m a barbell champion.

    (Hey, barbell, that could well be another mauricianism, like in « Lui, il fait du barbell. »)

  8. A. J. P. Crown

    Normally penguins don’t wear shoes.
    Maybe not on Mars.

  9. Definitely* not on Mars. But when you think about it, it must be bloody painful to walk barefoot on the ice. How do they manage to do it?

    * which can be translated into « définitivement » in Martian (and in Martian only)

  10. A. J. P. Crown

    I’ve been wondering the same thing about our dogs’ feet at the moment in the snow. It just doesn’t bother them. The penguins must have ducks’ feet.

  11. « The devices built into ducks to allow them to survive in all kinds of conditions show great wisdom in design. »

    Hmmm, what’s your agenda, Mr Crown?

  12. marie-lucie

    Barbell is quite normal in North American English, for a bar with weights at both ends, used for developing one’s upper body strength (des haltères).

  13. Marie-Lucie, if you mention some haltères to French-speaking Martians, most of them would not know what it is, probably. The word barbell is much more likely to ring a bell. That’s why I said it could be put among the list of « mauricianismes ».

    Now, I’m just wondering what the difference is between a barbell and a dumbbell (with two -bs). When you are doing a water retaining structure (a tank or a swimming pool for instance) there is a type of plastic joint that is placed at mid-thickness of walls (or rafts) to make the construction joints waterproof. It is called « dumbbell waterbar » because in section it looks like a dumbbell, but I’m just wondering why it couldn’t be called a barbell too.


    Silly me: a dumbbell is something that you hold with one hand only, whereas a barbell requires two hands (at least). What confused me is that it started with the word haltères: there is just one word in French to describe both dumbbell and barbell.

  14. Mysterious, yes. No one knows what Sig looks like. (AJP and some others are semi-public.) I pictured a mustache (but now I think not) and a very deep tropical tan, also very tall as for some reason this seems to go with concrete.

    Oh I see, the barbells are used with the weight bench and returned to the bar above the bench, while the dumbbells are the small ones. I had them confused with dumbwaiters. I have only used the wrist weights with sand inside and velcro attachments, to try to recover from a knee injury. It didn’t work.

  15. Halteres is used in English to describe the degenerate second pair of wings that flies, mosquitoes, and gnats (members of the order Diptera) have behind their functional wings. Ancestral insects all had two pairs of wings, and many (such as beetles) still do. The English word is pronounced with three syllables, so it is presumably borrowed directly from Greek.

    As for Sig, my guess is that the « very deep tropical tan » which Nijma imagines would be of the permanent variety, given that 95% of Martians are of Indian or African origin or both. I can be seen, for those who care, in this picture; I’m the one on the left.

  16. Arrrgh. The one on the right. (Not that I would mind being the other fella, but I’m not.) I can’t tell my left from my right reliably.

  17. John, you blew your cover. I’d always thought you were much older and much more respectable-looking, with gray hair, gray-flannel trousers, steel glasses & a green eyeshade. From now on I’ll stop being so respectful.

  18. Um, what year was that taken, again? I AM familiar with the ten-year-old picture gambit.

  19. 95% of Martians are of Indian or African origin or both.
    If I remember my African history correctly, there was also a huge Arab presence, especially in the port cities and among the upper class, since Arabs were wealthy sea merchants and everyone wanted to marry them. I sort of think our Sig must be of Indian extraction though.

    Ibn Battuta was a famous Arab from that era.


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