Kinds of walls

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Outsider, May 24, 2008.

  1. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Portuguese distinguishes between:

    parede: an inner wall that is an integral part of a building;
    muro: an outside wall used for separation between properties, estates or fields, not part of the building itself;
    muralha: a defensive wall, like a city wall​

    I checked that Spanish makes the same tripartite distinction: pared, muro, muralla. But in English the basic word is the same in all cases, wall.

    I'm curious to know if other languages make these distinctions too, or other distinctions, between kinds of walls.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. בעל-חלומות Senior Member

    ישראל, עברית

    parede: קיר (kir)/כותל (kotel)
    muro: גדר (gader)/ חומה (Homa)
    muralha: חומה (Homa)

    For the second one, I am not sure I understand the meaning. Is it like a fence?
  3. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    There's a different word for fence, but yes, it is similar to a fence. A wall that goes around a yard or a field. Basically, a wall that encloses an open space. The Berlin Wall was called Muro de Berlim in Portuguese, for instance. (The Great Wall of China is called Grande Muralha da China.)
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  4. El escoces Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    English - UK
    You're correct that, by and large, English has only one word. I recall reading shopping centre leases where, in order to describe the extent of the property being let, it was necessary to talk of the inner face of externals walls, and one half of internal walls dividing the shop unit from the next shop unit, and the whole of any wall entirely within the shop unit, and so on!

    There is a Scottish word (possibly in use in the north of England as well) to describe something similar to Outsider's muro, namely dyke (anyone familiar with the late Frankie Howerd will no doubt be muffling titters now, but there is no connection with the alternative usage to describe ladies of a particular sexual persuasion). Dykes are hand-built stone walls used to separate fields or to surround a property, usually in rural communities. The dykes are extremely hardy (very old dykes are still standing, and in good condition) despite, in the traditional methodology, being constructed without any form of mortar or cement (such dykes being referred to as dry-stane (i.e. stone) dykes).

    So in "Scottish" English we do have one alternative for wall.
  5. franz rod Senior Member

    In Italian:
    parete and mura like spanish parede and muralha.
    muro can be like the spanish muro but it's also the external wall of a building.
    muraglia: high and big wall
    muraglione:sustaining wall
    tramezzo:inner wall thinner than parete. it can be also made of wood.
    muretto: low wall used to separate properties and fields
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  6. El escoces Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    English - UK
    For anyone interested, I'm about to open another thread on a related but distinct subject.
  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Yes, upon reflection that also applies to Spanish and Portuguese. There isn't always a strict distincion between parede and muro, in any case.
  8. Nizo Senior Member

    Esperanto captures the idea in different ways:

    vando, septo: thin internal wall or other divider, separating a space (used for example to speak of a cell wall, a wall between rooms in a house, a divider between train compartments).

    muro: indoor or outdoor wall, either freestanding or supporting a structure.

    mureto: a short muro.

    murego: a large, thick muro (castle wall, city wall, Great Wall of China).

    There are some other words, as well, with specialized meanings.
  9. Miguel Antonio Senior Member

    Galego (Rías Baixas)
    In Spain, the common usage today is:
    Pared: the surface of an inner or outer wall of a building, rather than the wall itself.
    Muro: a wall enclosing an area, or the structural outer wall of a large or monumental building. Muro de carga: supporting wall. Muro de contención: retaining wall.
    Tabique: an indoor partition
    Muralla: the wall of a city or a castle, etc. Lienzo (de muralla): a curtain wall.
    Murallón: a huge wall, such as the retaining wall of a river dam.
    Dique: a dyke as in Holland, or a dock

    Where the walls have ears, the eaves may drop :D
  10. Topsie

    Topsie Senior Member

    Avignon, France
    In French you have parois, mur and muraille.
  11. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    In German you could use Mauer for all these meanings but it is possible to diversify:

    - Zwischenmauer (or) Trennmauer = 'wall-that-separates' = parede
    - Mauer (or) tragende Mauer = (the latter, of course) 'wall-that-bears-(weight)' = a wall that is crucial to the construction and many times, but not necessarily so, is an outside wall = muro (could also be a 'weight-bearing wall' inside the building but is clearly differentiated from the 'Zwischenmauer' which you may crash without any consequences to stability)
    - Stadtmauer = 'city wall' = muralha

    So it is possible to express the same meanings in German, roughly (only that all of them contain the element 'Mauer - wall').
  12. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Sokol, I'm pretty sure a parede is simply a Wand.
  13. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Septo exists in Portuguese as a technical term (used in biology, anatomy, etc.)

    We use the word tabique in Portuguese too, I think with the same meaning.

    (There is, of course, also the elegant word biombo, in both Spanish and Portuguese... :))
  14. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual

    parede/muro: حائط (Haa'iT)
    muralha: جدار (jidaar)
  15. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    For me it isn't (but this means also Austrian German, you could be right for Germany - that I don't know): Wand for me is simply the name for a wall (any wall) surrounding a room - so 'Wand' as such is just the 'thing' where you hammer nails in to hang up pictures, or where you drill in screws to fasten furniture.

    The term 'Wand' as such for me has absolutely no meaning as to wether it's an outside wall or not, and as a son of a mason I am completely sure that masons (at least in Austria, or at least in its northern parts) definitely use 'Zwischenmauer' for parede ('Trennmauer' also would be understood).

    Of course, once again, I can't be sure if the meaning as described by me is universal to the German speaking countries, or if this is an Austrian speciality.
  16. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Assuming that parede means the same thing as pared in Spanish, a parede is exactly what you have just described as a Wand. :)

    I wasn't contesting your Mauer-related expertise, but I think perhaps you have misunderstood the meaning of parede.
    Last edited: May 30, 2008
  17. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
    In Czech:
    Most common words for wall are: zeď (muro). Meaning accented: made of hard materials as bricks or concrete... Best fits for: outside (not necessarily) wall of house/building; less often – fencing wall (cf. ohrada). Berlínská zeď (Zeď), Velká Čínská Zeď. Slightly irregular grammar: zeď (sg. NOM.) zdi (GEN., DAT., pl. NOM...); zdí (pl. GEN.)...

    Stěna (parede).Meaning accented: a face of wall (follows that mainly inside). Best fits for: Na stěně visí obraz (there hangs a picture on the wall); břišní stěna (abdominal wall).

    Less common words for wall are: příčka (of +-hard material), přepážka (of +-light material, maybe only (lower part) partially separates),(parede).Meaning accented: 'wall-that-separates (crosswise)' (e.g. rooms in a flat). Somewhat builder’s/waller’s terminology.

    Hradby/hradba (city wall, castle wall). (muralha)
    Cimbuří (castle high defensive wall (especially with meandering “crown”)). Ambit. (muralha)
    Ohrada mural/wall fence. Meaning accented: more “content” of it (e.g. park or cemetery or garden) than the wall itself (zeď ). (muro) (meaning of "fence" = plot)

    Palisáda (pole) stockade. (muralha)
    Hrazení (muralha)

    Fortna/fort military defensive building (long), landed up with earth so it looks as long mound. (muralha)
    Val, násep long mound.

    In Lithuanian:
    Siena(parede). (also means (state) boundary)
    Mūras/mūrai (muro, muralha) (these words IMHO seems to be of foreign origin).
    Last edited: May 28, 2008
  18. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Paliçada in Portuguese, and empalizada in Spanish, are fences or defensive walls made with sticks. :)
  19. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
    Yes this (palisáda) word came from Romance family of languages, I guess.
  20. jmx

    jmx Senior Member

    Spain / Spanish
    Another one:

    Tapia: an outdoors wall closing a property with no roof.
  21. Miguel Antonio Senior Member

    Galego (Rías Baixas)
    Es muy curioso que las paredes oigan o tengan oídos y que los que no oyen nada estén sordos como tapias :cool:
    Pero bueno, en inglés, a quienquiera que escuche conversaciones ajenas sin estar invitad@ a ello, se le caen las cornisas. Tiene mucho juego/jugo, la arquitectura auditiva :D
  22. blue_jewel

    blue_jewel Senior Member

    in Tagalog:

    Wall - Pader
  23. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Well now, this is interesting because if parede means what I have described as Wand then of course in German it would be like you're saying. ;)
    In this case a general misunderstanding is involved as I thought that parede is by definition a wall not bordering on the outside of a house.
  24. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Perhaps it was I who did not explain the idea well enough. The basic distinction is between walls that are a part of the structure of a house (or other kind of building), which we call paredes, and "free" walls that enclose or divide open spaces, which we call muros. A muro can be adjacent to a house, but not a part of it. (Unless it's something like the small wall on the edge of a balcony; that might get called a muro -- but also a parede.)

    I hope this makes it clearer.
  25. Miguel Antonio Senior Member

    Galego (Rías Baixas)
    Outsider, you have made it all much clearer as I may have been confusing in my own understanding of the usage of the words muro and pared in Spanish
    I would really appreciate it if other Spanish-speakers from all over Spain and the Americas would submit their viewpoints, for my own sake, for the sake of this thread, and for the sake of WR especially :)

    Circles, circumferences and spheres are all round, so are smileys ;)
  26. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    It certainly does, thanks a lot!

    And another thing just came to my mind, another word for city wall. So in German we have:

    - 'Mauer'
    = more or less 'muro' (where 'Zwischenmauer' would be defined as one not being an outside wall, while 'Mauer' could be both an outside and an inside wall and also a wall being adjacent to a house without being part of it: 'Mauer' being the hyperonym, 'Zwischenmauer' the hyponym), but our 'Mauer' also can be part of the building: 'Mauer' is a word with a very broad meaning indeed; even though you usually would drive a nail into a 'Wand' to hang up a picture you also can hammer it into the 'Mauer' even though in the latter case this would be associated with the construction of a building (the work of a mason) rather than the purpose of decorating the walls

    - 'Wand' = more or less 'parede' while mainly used for walls at which you look from the inside of a room (you hang up pictures on the Wand, you pant a Wand in whatever colour etc.); also you could use Wand for parts of furniture and other meanings; and my German dictionary also states that Wand may be used in the sense of Mauer (that is, Mauer as the thing a mason builds) which sounds strange to my ears but may (probably) be widely used in Germany, that I don't know; one saying probably makes clear the meaning of Wand: 'die eigenen vier Wände' is signifying 'home sweet home' really (literally: within your own four walls, according to my dictionary also - idiomatically - possible in English): Wand is the thing you live in, while Mauer is the thing you build (that is, Mauer is referring more to the aspect of construction while Wand refers more to the thing being part of our lifestyle)

    - 'Wall' = more or less 'muralha' (and corresponding to English 'wall'), but if you call a defensive structure Wall what you have in mind is more like a dam made out of earth (or earth plus stones), or probably partly earth, partly stone wall (probably with other defensive structures like palisades attached to it); anyway, it is possible to refer to a defensive wall with German 'Wall', more common however would be 'Stadtmauer' (which definitely has to be a wall made of stone)

    So even though German 'Mauer - Wand - Wall' is partly corresponding to Portughese 'muro - parede - muralha' the terms seem to vary considerably in meaning.
  27. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Thank you very much for that detailed and interesting reply. :cool:
  28. franz rod Senior Member

    Another words in Italian:
    a dam: diga
    "if you call a defensive structure Wall what you have in mind is more like a dam made out of earth (or earth plus stones), or probably partly earth, partly stone wall": Terrapieno, Aggere or Barbacane (maybe barge-kenning in Englih). This words doesn't indicate exactly the same thing)
    palisade: palizzata
    wooden fence: staccionata, steccato, stecconata (staccionata, steccato, stecconata have some very little differences in meaning)
  29. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    As I cannot edit my own post any more: this thread suggests that indeed in Germany (in Germany-German, that is) 'Wand' seems to be used also for what to me (in Austrian German) rather should be called 'Mauer'; or at least that some Germans prefer this use.

    So the distinction of German 'Wand' and 'Mauer' does not seem to be so straightforward if you include the whole German speaking area.
  30. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog:*Parede/inner wall= Dingding/pader **Muro/outside wall= Tarangka/bakod ***Muralha/defensive wall= Muog
  31. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    «Τείχος» ('tixos, n.): The defensive wall of a city/castle. From the Classical neuter noun, «θεῖχος» ('tʰeixŏs), later, «τεῖχος» ('teixŏs)--> fortification, city-wall. PIE base *dheigh-, to form, build.
    «Τοίχος» ('tixos, m.): The inner wall that is an integral part of a building. From the Classical masculine noun «τοῖχος» ('toixŏs)--> wall of a house or enclosure. A derivation of «τεῖχος». PIE base *dheigh-, to form, build.
    «Φράκτης» ('fraktis, m.) and colloquially «φράχτης» ('fraxtis, m.): An outside wall used for separation between properties, estates or fields. From the Classical masculine noun «φράκτης» ('pʰrāktēs)--> init. sluice with gates, later, fence, a barrier or a boundary between properies/estates. With obscure etymology.
    «Προμαχώνας» (proma'xonas, m.): The breastwork (a quickly constructed wall, usually breast-high for defence), also, the embattlement. From the Classical masculine noun «προμαχεών» (prŏmăxĕ'ōn)--> battlement. Compound, preposition and prefix «πρὸ» (prŏ)--> before, in front of + verb «μάχομαι» ('măxŏmæ, 'maxome in the modern language)--> quarrel, wrangle, fight (with unknown etymology).
    «Τάπια» ('tapça, f.)--> battlement. An Arabic loan word (تعبئة , ta'bya) via Ottoman Turkish.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  32. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Dutch: muur, muur, muur, I'd say, but one can say binnenmuur (inside wall, in-between wall), wal perhaps (fortification walls, but they are often not in stone), or vestingen [lit. settlements, fixations], the surrounding walls of a fortified town along with water (Vauban).
  33. Favara Senior Member

    Catalan - Southern Val.
    paret - a generic wall. Vulgar Latin parēte.
    mur - a defensive wall, load-bearing wall, or the external wall of a building. Latin mūru.
    muralla - a defensive wall, a wall enclosing a vegetable garden. Latin mūrālĭa.
    envà - a thin wall separating two rooms. Unknown etymology?
    tàpia - a wall made with mud bricks. Pre-roman, uncertain etymology (I've read Arabic etymology has been discarded).
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  34. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Oh, yes, unfortunately many langauges have more words for one Hungarian, so it's quite difficult for us to learn them.
    We say for everything: fal
  35. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    - the walls of a house, either innervägg - inner wall inside the house, or yttervägg - outer wall, outside of the house, can be either stone or wood
    Mur - the free-standing (stone)wall around a garden or house, but it can also be used about the outer stone walls of a building such as a castle or cathedral
    Ringmur, stadsmur - a wall around a city

    Stainvast - the Gutnic/Gotlandic word for the traditional limestone walls on the island of Gotland, such as this:
  36. aruniyan Senior Member

    vaeli (fence, mostly referring the one made around the house/garden with sticks and wood)
    suvar(wall inside the house)
    araN(walls around forts, that which protects)
    mathil(a raised platform)
  37. arielipi Senior Member

    Also in hebrew:
    for the second: מחיצה\חוצץ /x/otzetz/me/x/itza.
  38. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    How interesting to see that some languages refer to some kind of key word like wall/ mu(u)r, whereas others seem to consider them as separate concepts. But that would be a topic to be explored at EHL, I guess.
  39. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    The Swedish word vägg is related to words such as to twine or to weave, as the first walls were just made of tree branches twined together to give some kind of protection against the weather. By the time people up here learned to build houses with stone walls they started using the word mur about those walls.

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