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Old 02-13-2018, 09:50 PM
Status: "Confused" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: SW Missouri
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Why do you suppose there is no word in Spanish that means "Toe"?
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:11 PM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
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What about dedo del pie?
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:38 PM
 
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For the very same reason there is no English word for "Te quiero"
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
What about dedo del pie?
I think the OP means a single word that is equivalent to "toe." "Dedo del pie" is literally "finger of the foot." When people say "This language doesn't have a word for X," they don't mean there is no way to communicate that concept, just that it can't be done with a single word.

There's not necessarily any special reason for it. All languages have single words for some things that need several words or a phrase in others. No two languages match up perfectly in vocabulary. For instance, in Japanese there is a single word mizu that means "cold water," and another word yu which means "hot water." So a Japanese could say in horror that in English there is no word for "yu" [hot water]! But of course that is just as silly as saying Spanish doesn't have a word for toe. Spanish-speakers can talk about toes perfectly well and we can talk about hot water.

Actually, it occurs to me that Japanese doesn't have a single word for "toe" either. Toes are "ashi yubi" (foot fingers).
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:27 AM
 
Location: Brussels
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I guess it says something about the importance that at some point in the past of Spanish speaking cultures was given to toes. Or the importance it was given in English speaking cultures, for that matter. The majority of Indo-European languages DO NOT have a word for toe, so English is kind of an exception... A better question would be: how come there is a word for toe in English?
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:26 AM
 
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Spanish is not the only language that uses the same word for finger and toe. Hebrew also does.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
Why do you suppose there is no word in Spanish that means "Toe"?
Perhaps there was more foot fetishism among the English.
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kikebxl View Post
I guess it says something about the importance that at some point in the past of Spanish speaking cultures was given to toes. Or the importance it was given in English speaking cultures, for that matter. The majority of Indo-European languages DO NOT have a word for toe, so English is kind of an exception... A better question would be: how come there is a word for toe in English?
It appears to be etymologically quite simple, though interesting. The word "toe" originally meant both "finger" and "toe" and comes from the same root as the Spanish "dedo" and Latin "digit." Most non-Germanic Indo-European languages still have a single word for both finger and toe.

"Finger," however, apparently comes from the same root as "five." At some point in the proto-Germanic world, the usefulness of fingers for counting on became paramount. The word meaning "five" was adapted for the name of these digits, and "toe" was relegated to the parts on the foot only.

All Germanic languages have this distinction, e.g. German Finger and Zehe, Icelandic fingur and tá.

Last edited by saibot; 02-14-2018 at 09:50 AM..
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Finland
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Interesting, wonder if there are many examples like these in European languages?

But you think toe is bad? Finnish doesn't have a word for "he" and "she"!
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Ankara, Turkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariete View Post
Interesting, wonder if there are many examples like these in European languages?

But you think toe is bad? Finnish doesn't have a word for "he" and "she"!
Neither does Turkish. The word “o” means both he and she.
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