1. yakor Senior Member

    Hi! It is not clear to me why "uf"could mean both "upon" and "under".
    From the Etymology Dictionary...
    up (adv.)
    Old English up, uppe, from Proto-Germanic *upp- "up" (cf. Old Frisian, Old Saxon up "up, upward," Old Norse upp; Danish, Dutch op; Old High German uf, German auf"up"; Gothic iup "up, upward," uf "on, upon, under;" Old High German oba, German ob "over, above, on, upon"), from PIE root *upo "up from below" (cf. Sanskrit upa"near, under, up to, on," Greek hypo "under, below," Latin sub "under;" see sub-).#

  2. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    I don't know the standard explanation, but it is not totally inconceivable. Note how even English "on" has this ambiguity. "On the table" refers to an upward direction, "on the ceiling" refers to a downward direction. Sanskrit "upa" has primarily a connotation of proximity, which might have been more or less the original meaning. The daughter languages might have restricted the semantic space individually.
  3. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    I don't understand your problem. If the original shared meaning is "up from below" it is easy to see how after many, many centuries of separate development in one language the "up"-part prevailed and in another language the "below"-part.

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