My conlang is very literal to human perception, and I continued building vocabularies for physical quantities.

Though in a previous question, I brought an exotic trick to describe length (namely, give "red" for "long" and "violet" for "short"), I eventually found that, the presence of multiple eyes should exactly measure the usual length between two spatial points. Simple geometry and trigonometry; the distance between the two eyes and the four angular distances should give the said length exactly.

I took this further. Perhaps my conlang should use the same words when the quantities have the same physical dimension, only differentiated by the following adverb. This idea would be demonstrated in English like this:

  • high = long up / low = short up
  • deep = long down / shallow = short down
  • far = long in front / close = short in front
  • wide = long between / narrow = short between

Does any natural language do this?

1 Answer 1


Sure. Not to the extent that you're doing it here, but English uses "far away", "far down", "far up", "far apart", and so on to indicate physical length in different directions. (Not just "far", either: "a long way away", "a long way down", etc.)

Things that have the same dimensions in a physics sense but not in an intuitive sense don't generally work like this, just because most people don't consider them the same: you can measure color (well, some colors: not white or magenta, for example) in meters by referring to the wavelength of light, but to non-physicists there's no obvious connection between color and length. But this isn't necessarily an issue for a conlang.

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