"Indo-European cognates include Latin caurus ('northwestern wind')" according to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Slavic/s%C4%9Bver%D1%8A
In old folklore it is common to refer to directions as part of the day so север and юг are respectively полночь and полдень (or полудень) and запад/восток can be replaced by закат/восход (the connection is obvious and thats actually how I remembered it as a kid I think). But not vice versa so you can travel due midnight (especially if you are a богатырь or at least добрый молодец) but you dont break fast in the east.
LOL, it's not real, of course. I just read that somewhere - "October Revolution Island, named after its discoverer, Piotr October Revolution." Since then I've never been able to think of anything else when I look at that island on the map, so I thought maybe it would help someone else to remember something :-)
Besides the "severe" connection I also remember that the prefix вер is related to "up" as in верх спины (upper back). And north is usually up in maps. For запад I think about Emiliano Zapata, a Mexican revolution leader. Mexico is west to me as a european, and also arguably a western country
This is clumsy phrase in English. We would say "that way" or "over there", with "that way" being better. That is, unless you are talking about someone named "South" ;) I am speaking of the English translation, not the Russian. I suppose it could be a situation where someone asks "Which way is South" and one answered while pointing South, might say "I think south is there." That might fit both the Russian and the English, думаю. ;) Still "that way" is much more likely.
Really? Imagine yourself looking at a map which has no indication of directions. You are trying to orient it in order to make some sense of it. To me, a sentence like "I think South is there" would sound perfectly normal under the circumstances. Certainly better than "over there" -- you are looking at a piece of paper after all. "That way" would work too, but I don't find anything wrong with just "there".
Honestly, I think that would still be weird. South isn't a place, it's a direction. Even if you were pointing on a map, I think you'd still say 'that way' or something similar.
Pretty much the only way I can imagine "I think South is there" making sense is if there were a place that had been designated 'South' and you were pointing at that place.
I don't see any difference in using 'that' or not in English. I tend to omit 'that' in such sentences, but others may not. I don't think it's right to say one is more natural then the other. As for Russian, I would have thought the same thing, but I assume the course developers know what they're doing :) It's true though, that in other foreign languages I speak 'that' is never omitted when linking such clauses.
No. In Russian there is an ambiguity with юг (север, запад, восток) being being both direction and place. That said, grammatically they are treated as a place, hence "юг там" sounds much more natural that "юг туда".
A clear indication of direction would require preposition "на": I am heading South = Я иду/еду/направляюсь на юг (the choice of a verb depends on your mode of locomotion). Hence "на юг - туда" is perfectly normal while "юг туда" is clumsy in Russian.
It's interesting. I've been trying to find out to what extent Russian is a pro-drop language. Being familiar with Czech which is highly pro-drop I've dropped pronouns in some of these exercises without thinking about it and been marked wrong for it. Just out of interest does it occur in the first person singular more often than other persons?
Dropping "I" is a colloquial style, the sentence is formally incomplete. You would usually try avoiding it in writing or in formal conversations - but not always. E.g., "Хочу добавить ..." - "(I) would like to add ..." is an expression perfectly acceptable in formal speech.