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When playing Spanish guitar, the left thumb is not a finger; the right one is..r

Yes, but its symbol is +, whereas the other fingers are named ./../.../.. which shows quite a differentiation. Piano players treat thumbs equally and call them '1' (which is the left index finger for guitar players).

To be fair to guitarists, the thumb of both hands has a very different role, especially for the left hand (for right-handed players), so it's not surprising that guitar fingering notation reflects that. We pianists just treat the thumb as another finger because of the nature of the keyboard.

John H
Yorkshire, England
Technically, we even sometimes use a separate word which covers both: 'digit'. Certainly, if an English-speaker says "I've cut my ... do?" Very satisfying. I don't see why you imagine we might have to have special thumb-differentiation classes for our children!

Well, the activity you've just described *is* such a thumb-differentiation class Emotion: smile and it pretty well answers my question: the differentiation appears so early it's not learning but acquiring that matters. Polish children have an activity game in which fingers (that is, both fingers and toes, because the word is the same) are enumerated one after another - with no special treatment of thumbs whatsoever.
I'm sure my questions must seem funny, but "how it feels" is the kind of information you can hardly find in dictionaries. I thought it might be something like "large intestine" and "small intestine" - a dictinction well known, but to grown-ups rather than children. Now it's clearer.
That's necessary only for foreign students who've already internalized a different naming system.

You're right, but if I were to name one set which would illustrate differences in partitioning systems between English and Polish, it wouldn't be body parts, but meals Emotion: smile
dorota guttfeld
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Steffen Buehler filted:
When playing Spanish guitar, the left thumb is not a finger; the right one is..r

Yes, but its symbol is +, whereas the other fingers are named ./../.../.. which shows quite a differentiation. Piano players treat thumbs equally and call them '1' (which is the left index finger for guitar players).

When I learnt Spanish guitar, the symbols for the fingers of the right hand were P, I, M and A (for pollex, index, medius and annularis respectively)...the right pinky was as little used as the left thumb..r
From my experience, many English-speaking people insist a thumb is not a finger, or at least seem to be familiar ... Or are there any historic reasons? Is there any popular story/quote/joke that involves - and so reinforces - the idea?

The thumb is a finger for some purposes and not a finger for others.
We pianists just treat the thumb as another finger because of the nature of the keyboard.

But because of the nature of the keyboard we're supposed to avoid using the thumb on the black keys, NTTAP.
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Qp10qp filted:

Us natives hear it everywhere. Of course, one would be ... if you didn't have a name for it in Polish.

When playing Spanish guitar, the left thumb is not a finger; the right one is..r

Not in my experience. The right hand digits are labeled p,i,m,a with the 'p' standing for pulgar (thumb).

dg
We do have at least one little nursery singing-game; but it does, now you draw my attention to the subject, ... Tall", "Ruby Ring", and "Baby Small", until the big ride-out chorus "Fingers all..Here we are!...How do you do?" Very satisfying.

My son loves a similar song. The fingers we go through are Thumbkin, Pointer, Birdie, Ring Man, and Pinkie.

SML
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Dorota Guttfeld filted:
However, it is interesting that, just like in English, the word for "thumb" doesn't contain the "finger" element. In Polish ... 5. little finger Probably thumbs are so special and important that they encourage some kind of splendid isolation in naming.

The English names for the other four are similar, as indeed they seem to be in most languages...the impulse to use the "first" finger for pointing, and to name it accordingly, seems almost irresistible...the one next to it is the "middle" finger in nearly all cases, except when it's the "long" finger...and the last one invariably seems to be named in recognition of it's being the smallest..

It's only the "heart/ring/medical" finger that allows for much variation..

It occurs to me for the first time that I have never learned the names of the fingers in Japanese...I know that "finger" in general is "yubi", and the desk dictionary says that the thumb is "oyayubi" with a first element that means "parent" when it stands alone...to the Japanese, apparently, its specialness wasn't compelling enough that it represented its own category..r
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From my experience, many English-speaking people insist a thumb is ... story/quote/joke that involves - and so reinforces - the idea?

The thumb is a finger for some purposes and not a finger for others.

And sometimes the reverse, as in, "I'm all thumbs today".
dg
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