foot / leg, hand / arm

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by alfie1888, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. alfie1888

    alfie1888 Senior Member

    Kent, England
    English - England
    I just did a search on the forum with no results so I don't think this has been asked before (just in my defence in case I get told off if it indeed has! :p)

    How does a Greek specify "hand" and "arm" when χέρι means both? The same question for "foot" and "leg" as πόδι.

    Might I hazard a guess and suppose one says η άκρη του ποδιού / χεριού ?

    Looking forward to finding out the answer. This is another burning question of mine.
  2. sotos Senior Member

    There are words for various parts of hand and leg, if you want to be more specific. e.g βραχίων, μπράτσο, κνήμη, μηρός, ταρσός, άκρος πους etc.
  3. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    Of course there are, but only doctors use them.
    We use καρπός (wrist), αγκώνας (elbow), μπράτσο (arm and it's not a Greek word anyway) and χέρι.
    For the leg we use μπούτι (leg - slangy), γόνατο (knee), αστράγαλος (ankle) and πόδι. (I've heard μηρός, κνήμη and even γαστροκνήμιο in an everyday conversation but it's rare)
    One says η άκρη του ποδιού / χεριού in a medical conference or something like that but not in real life.
  4. tzot New Member

    Μηρός and κνήμη are not that rare in my own personal experience. I've also heard (once or twice) ακρόχερο and ακρόποδο for hand and foot. BTW μπράτσο is a loanword: comes from italian braccio which comes from greek βραχίων.
  5. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    It's an interesting question alfie and, on the face of it, the lack of specific words for hand and foot raises problems. In practice, for everyday situations the meaning is often obvious from context:

    "Στραμπούλιξα το πόδι." -Ankle/foot
    "Μου πονάει το πόδι, πάτησα αχινό." - Foot
    "Έσπασα το πόδι όταν πήγα για σκι." - Leg
    "Έχεις ωραία πόδια" - Legs

    I did once want to tell a friend of mine that she has very beautiful feet, but without it sounding as though I thought her legs were not so hot. I think I ended up saying "Tα πόδια σου είναι πολύ όμορφα σ' εκείνα τα σανδάλια". Does anyone have a better suggestion?
  6. Andrious Senior Member

    "Αυτά τα σανδάλια σού πάνε πολύ/ ταιριάζουν απίστευτα στα πόδια σου"?
  7. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    Όχι, ήθελα να της πώ: "You know, you have beautiful feet" Τα πόδια σου από τον αστράγαλο και κάτω είναι πολύ ωραία :D
  8. Andrious Senior Member

    Tο κατάλαβα. νομίζω πως τα σανδάλια αναδεικνύουν περισσότερο το μέρος του ποδιού κάτω απ' τον αστράγαλο παρά ολόκληρο το πόδι, όπως τα τακούνια, π.χ. (κοίτα που έφτασα να μιλάω σαν τη Σκορδά! :rolleyes: )
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  9. Αγγελος Senior Member

    We don't really express that distinction in ordinary speech (as opposed to medical writing). In fact, teachers of foreign languages have to work hard to get it into Greek learners' heads that the distinction between, say, a 'leg' and a 'foot' is NOT a superfluous nicety.<br>When we do want to be more specific, we say such things as "έσπασε το πόδι του κάτω απ'τον αστράγαλο" / "έσπασε το πόδι του λίγο κάτω απ' το γόνατο" -- "αυτό δένεται στο χέρι λίγο πάνω απ'τον αγκώνα" / "του κόπηκε το χέρι από τον καρπό" etc.
  10. Timothy1987 Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    English - Australia
    That just seems absolutely mental and I don't know how a developed language can function like that. Just use βραχίονας for heaven's sake, etc.
  11. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Wow, wasn't that nice. If we didn't use words like βραχίονας Greek would still function properly. As it is, at least in my former neck of the woods (Piraeus) we'd use it. It's be something like
    -Έσπασα το χέρι μου
    -Τι; Πώς; Πού;
    - Στον βραχίονα, κάνοντας σκι (λέμε τώρα :D ).

    We would describe things the way Άγγελος says for feet though.
  12. Αγγελος Senior Member

    Every language makes its own distinctions -- segments the continuum of reality in its own way. Greek, e.g., has two different words for 'dry', στεγνός and ξερός, respectively meaning "without added water" (such as a dry towel, μια στεγνή πετσέτα) and "without its natural moisture" (as in a dry branch, ένα ξερό κλαδί), where English makes do with just one. Greek distinguishes the sister's husband (γαμπρός) from the wife's (or husband's) brother (κουνιάδος), while English lumps them both under the curious term "brother-in-law". [Then again, γαμπρός also means 'son-in-law' and 'bridegroom'!] Few languages routinely distinguish between an action now occurring ("Ï am singing") and a generally valid statement ("nightingales sing beautifully"), as English does; then again, there are languges which systematically distinguish what the speaker has actually seen from what he has merely been told. It is natural to expect to find in other languages what one has grown used to from one's own, but it is a mark of linguistic naiveté.
  13. alfie1888

    alfie1888 Senior Member

    Kent, England
    English - England
    Thank you everyone for your contribution!

    After all that, I think in future I think if I ever fall over and want to say "I think I broke my wrist" I'll just say "Νομίζω ότι έσπασα το χέρι μου εδώ" (pointing) haha. Would that work?
  14. Andrious Senior Member

    No. Say "Νομίζω ότι έσπασα τον καρπό μου". "Καρπός" is a quite common word in Greek, so if you say "Νομίζω ότι έσπασα το χέρι μου εδώ" (pointing), they may think that you don't speak Greek very well.

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