what's the linguistical connection between right (direction) and right (legal right)?

I have noted that a couple of languages use the same or similar words for the direction right as well as in the sense of legal right. My examples are:
English: Right, Right

German: Rechts, Recht

French: Droite, Droit
As seen from the French example, it’s not only that the words themselves might be related (as is obviously the case between right and rechts), but there appears to be a hidden, logical connection. Any ideas?

It’s handism. Being right-handed is correct, the default, the way people are “supposed” to be. Anything right is good, anything left is bad, suspicious, or weak.

Just don’t tell any lefties.

One might even say anything left is sinister or gauche.

According to Robert Persig, this goes back to pre-Sanskrit days. The root word is RT, which generally means correct, proper, upstanding, pays taxes on time, sees dentist every 6 months, etc. The Greeks had a similar word , arete, which meant more or less the same thing. There are a whole bunch of other words that have RT as their root (hey, maybe even ‘root’?), but the only other one I can remember is arithmetic.

It’s found in Slavic languages as well. In Czech, “práv-” is the root for words relating to right directionally, morally, or legally, i.e. “pravda” means “truth,” “vpravo” means “on the right,” “právo” means “right” or “laws,” and “právnik” means “lawyer.” :slight_smile:

Heh. Obviously the Czechs are happier with their lawyers than we are as a culture. :smiley:

It’s the Germans too: in German “Recht” is law and “recht” is right (correct).

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=right gives a fairly detailed explanation.

Prav is pretty far from RT. How closely related are Slav and Proto-Indo-European?

Well, let’s see. Germanic and Romance languages are here: Indo-European languages: Centum languages

And Slavic laguages are over here: Indo-European languages: Satem languages

Awesome links! Thanks!

Also in Finnish, which is an unrelated language. And in Irish.

In Latin, dexter = right and sinister = left. We generally prefer dexterity to being sinister.

Even in Chinese, which is unrelated to Indo-European languages, “left” and “incorrect” are related. I wonder if it’s true for native americans.