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Front is Back

Petite rêverie sur l’avant, l’arrière, le début et la fin.

  • 2004-10-17

Slowly emerging from my recent bout of thought and writing stupor, I am pointing out this post by Mark Liberman on Language Log only because it reminds me of some of my teenage musings: why it is that we leaf backwards towards the front of the book (while reading forwards to reach its back cover, or end), whereas we walk forwards towards the front of a crowd or parade. If one direction is the (mathematically) positive one, than the other one would have to be negative, wouldn’t it? But I’m sure I don’t read, nor walk, backwards, except in short-lived experiments. And I remember watching my younger brother in the grocery cart’s child seat and wondering whether for him the front of the cart was the back, or the back the front.

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