manco, cojo, bizco etc

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by phil-s, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. phil-s Member

    Puerto Rico/Oregon - English
    Spanish seems to have infinitely many two syllable words for human conditions. (I'm up to 32 in my current list.) Do other Romance languages suffer/enjoy this trend? Is there a reason why these sorts of words are all 2 syllable -- for example, a common mode of origin? (Apologies if this has already been discussed. I have no idea how to search for this issue.) Thanks. -- Phil
  2. Sempervirens Senior Member

    Anche l'inglese conta decine di parole di parti del corpo, di quattro lettere. Non ho idea se questa cosa possa giovare o non giovare al parlante. Boh! Sarebbe interessante sapere la suddivisione in sillabe. Accanto ai sostantivi in inglese metto quelli in italiano ( che è un'altra lingua romanza) con la suddivisione in sillabe. Ciao!:)

    Body/ corpo cor-po
    Head/capo, testa ca-po, test-ta
    Hair/pelo,capelli pe-lo, ca-pel-li
    Nose/naso na-so
    Face/faccia fac-cia
    Chin/mento,bazza men-to, baz-za
    Neck/collo col-lo
    Back/schiena,dietro schie-na, die-tro
    Hand /mano ma-no
    Nail . unghia ( chiodo non va bene) un-ghia
    Foot/piede pie-de
    Skin/pelle pel-le
    Iris/iride i-ri-de
    Knee/ ginocchio gi-noc-chio
    Lung/lingua lin-gua
    Anus/ano a-no
    Calf/polpaccio( non vitello) pol-pac-cio
    Heel/tallone (tacco non va bene) tal-lo-ne
    Vein/ vena ve-na
    Limb/arto ar-to
    Palm/palmo pal-mo
    Shin/stinco stin-co
    Bone/osso os-so
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  3. phil-s Member

    Puerto Rico/Oregon - English
    No, it's not body parts in Spanish. It's disabilities, uglinesses etc etc. Here's my list:

    Physical characteristics:

    1. Manco – lacking a hand
    2. Cojo – lacking a leg
    3. Ñoco – lacking a finger
    4. Tuerto -- lacking an eye
    5. Zopo—lame
    6. Zombo - club footed
    7. Bizco -- cross eyed
    8. Ciego - blind
    9. Sordo -- deaf
    10. Mudo -- dumb
    11. Braco – pugnosed
    12. Zurdo – left handed
    13. Zoco – left handed
    14. Calvo -- bald
    15. Chato -- squat (Mex.)
    16. Ñato – flat-nosed
    17. Gago -- stammerer
    18. Ñango – clumsy
    19. Cucho - hairlipped
    20. Huaco – toothless
    21. Feo
    22. Gordo
    23. Flaco

    Mental characteristics:

    1. Tonto
    2. Bobo
    3. Loco
    4. Lerdo
    5. Terco
    6. Ñaco – boorish (Mex.)
    7. Zonzo –silly
    8. Leco – stupid, crazy
  4. Sempervirens Senior Member


    Beh, ho abbandonato la ricerca perché mi sembra evidente che in italiano spesso occorrono definizioni relativamente lunghe e leggermente estenuanti (esattamente come accade in inglese). Non saprei dirti se questa situazione linguistica giova ai parlanti inglesi o a quelli italiani. Potrebbe disturbare per un senso pero' il defunto Winston Churchill. Avverso, come egli stesso diceva, alle frasi lunghe piu' del ''necessario''.
    Risulta evidente che in italiano abbiamo sia parole composte di due sillabe sia parole o frasi con altro numero di sillabe.

    Spero che questa ricerca, seppure incompleta, ti possa esser d'aiuto.

  5. CapnPrep Senior Member

    I think it's just that Spanish has a lot of two-syllable words, in general. But there are plenty of words for physical/mental characteristics or conditions that have more than two syllables:

    • leptorrino, tusunco, janano/janiche/janicho/januche, murruco, musuco, bachaco, moreno, papiche, carichato, cabezota, morocho, churepo, gatuzco, cavanillero, quisneto, estrábico, hermafrodita, sonámbulo, rubicundo, macuco, tibombo, chompapo, prognato, galocho, cañengo, sapirulo, locatis, rocolo, mancuncho, jipato, zamujo, cancano, miñambre, zoropeta, catete, grandevo, obeso, codorro, chafarota, zaparruco, tipache, berrejo, enfermo, arrecho, jicaque, fuñique, morocho, amétrope, culicunco, cobarde, pataruco, cuculmeque, chorompo, cenceño, tatarate, jarocho, catire, nefelibata, pedorro, mongoloide, cachondo, sajurín, sapluco, garrulo, mochales, tembeleque, pachacho, rechoncho, churepo, topocho, capocho, agallú, calamocano, delicaducho, panoli, vetarro, vejuco, bisojo, chimuelo, gatuzco, arisco, morugo, murruco, regordete, chintano, federico, larguirucho, frescote, charrulo, hobacho, casquite, peneque, zarandajo, holgazán, fuñingue, enclenque, guanajo, rollizo, cacarico, turulo, culío, cayuco, firifiro, batato, liliputiense
    There are many, many others. Not to mention words that are clearly derived by suffixation (-ado/-ido/-udo, -ón, -eño, -oso, -ero, -eto, -iento, -ico, -uso, -eco, -ista, -dor, etc.) or by compounding (boquiabierto, heroinómano, minusválido, barbicastaño, cabizbajo, patizambo, ojizarco, etc.).
  6. Chalk Pot

    Chalk Pot Banned

    итальянский язык
    Hi. Perhaps you considered only that issue - human body - but you could see that the basic environmental terms (river, sand, pebble, sea, tree, prey, ...) actually are 1 or generally two syllabes terms ... throughout the world. If you made such a work to collect all these terms and list them, you will obtain the basic roots of all the languages. I did it and this took me to completely review the histery of mankind and see that no one wants to listen to you - everyone has already found his right theory. So I decided it was better to forget it!

    By the way I'll give you a hint:

    (english) foot - (english) base - (english) beach - (greek) paidos 'child' - (french) bas 'low'

    all mean 'what is low' - as (greek) pedon 'soil' - and their common Root likely referred to the beach .
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  7. phil-s Member

    Puerto Rico/Oregon - English
    Fair enough, but we don't have terms like those two-syllable "hilarities" In English and I don't recall any such words in French or Russian, the only other 2 languages I've studied at all. In English, the terms are scattered all over the spectrum of syllable number and form -- lame, knock-kneed, peg-leg, cross-eyed, pug-nosed, blind, deaf, dumb. And many of the terms in Spanish don't even exist in English. No, my best guess is there's something special about Spanish -- and if it's not also true of the other Romance languages, then it must have evolved after Spanish split off from the Latin. Just curious.
  8. francisgranada Senior Member

    Some commonly used non-2-syllable examples: idiota, estúpido, imbécil, demente, maníaco, ignorante ...
  9. phil-s Member

    Puerto Rico/Oregon - English
    CapnPrep already gave a much longer list. I'll look at the etymology of the two-syllable ones, see if there's any common thread, then report back. Cheers.
  10. Hulalessar

    Hulalessar Senior Member

    English - England
    Spanish just has lots of two-syllable words. I do not think that the fact that some words "for human conditions" have two-syllables is of any significance.
  11. jmx

    jmx Senior Member

    Spain / Spanish
    In Spanish, the most common content words tend to be bisyllabic, unlike for example English, where they tend to be monosyllabic.

    On the other hand, and despite Spanish being my native tongue, for 10 out of 23 words in the first list in post #3, it's the first time that I hear or read them.
  12. phil-s Member

    Puerto Rico/Oregon - English
    Several are regional but I didn't note that. As for a pattern of etymology, I looked up 6 of them and found nothing in common for them. All 6 come from Latin, but some derive from verbs, others from nouns. Some appear in Italian as well as Spanish, and a bunch are common to Portuguese. Fun stuff, this language thing.

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