diastema

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by merquiades, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    The dental condition "diastema" brings about a number of different linguistic expressions and cultural perceptions from one language to another.

    In French it's referred to as les dents de bonheur (teeth of happiness) or les dents de la chance (lucky teeth) and as the name suggests it's supposed to be positive. People who have them are blessed and well remembered by others.

    In America it's called being gap-toothed or having gap teeth. Here the emphasis is put on the gap, not the teeth, and is probably mostly negative. People, if they can, probably try to have it corrected by having orthodontic work done on them or their children.

    In Spain I don't think people even pay attention to it one way or another. There's only the technical term diastema or if people have to describe someone they might say tiene las paletas separadas. Their front teeth are separated.

    What are your perceptions? What expressions are used in other languages to refer to diastema?
     
  2. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I think most people in Russia don't pay attention. The term "diatesma" is probably mostly used by specialists.

    On one hand, the term itself щербатый /sherbatyi/ means something imperfect (gap-toothed and also chipped dishes, missing teeth, pock-marked face, pitted pavement, etc...) - so, I'd say overall щербатый it is not a good thing. On the other hand, many people consider it attractive/sexy because of Vanessa Paradis who is well known in Ruissia.
     
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Interesting observation, but I can't find a parallel in Dutch. We do refer to the length of teeth (lange tanden), but only to indicate that people don't like eating particular food.
     
  4. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Greek
    In Greek the term used by specialists in «μεσοδόντιο διάστημα» [meso'ðondi.o ði'astima] lit. "interdental diastema". (Btw diastema just means space, therefore interdental diastema simply means interdental space).
    Colloquially we say that one has «αραιά δόντια» [are'a 'ðondʝa], "wispy teeth".
    For previous generations it was an indication of the person's affluence and luck.
     
  5. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    Thanks for these interesting comments!

    @Apnoy. Are you implying that nowadays it has become negative in Greece? Wispy teeth (αραιά δόντια) sounds very sweet.

    @Thomas. Long teeth don't necessarily imply having a gap thoush?:confused: If you saw Vanessa Paradis what you say?

    @Rusita.
    When people say щербатый it must be very ambiguous. You wouldn't know if there was a gap, a missing tooth or a just a chipped tooth. Would you say Vanessa Paradis is щербатая?
     
  6. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Yes, it is true, in isolation that word can be ambiguous. If I want to describe VP in a mean way, I would say щербатая. To be more specific and more gentle, we would call the gap between the teeth щербинка /sherbinka/ - it is a much nicer word, it has a diminutive/endearment suffix. To describe the person's appearance, we say щербинка между зубами (a gap between teeth); передние зубы с щербинкой (front teeth with a gap).
     
  7. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Greek
    No, I'd say it's neutral, without negative or positive connotations
     

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