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I'm sure my questions must seem funny, but "how it ... known, but to grown-ups rather than children. Now it's cleare

What is "clearer"?

That it's not a distinction you natives have to learn. That it doesn't feel like the difference between "iris" and "retina" but rather like the diference between "elbow" and "knee". A valuable bit of information for me, a learner of your language and culture. That's all.
That English speaking kids are brainwashed by nursery songs into the notion that the thumb is not a finger? From ... up your mind about the stage of human development when the English speakers acquire the 'wrong' perception about the thumb.

Where on Earth did you get the idea that I find it "wrong"? That you know the distinction quite early in your life proves that it is quite important for your cognitive system, and I simply find it interesting. Of course, if you wish to call the process of acquiring a given system "brainwashing" then we all undergo it, and I for one am so brainwashed by being Polish that I even use the same word for "sky" and "heaven", which of course shows you how unable we are to grasp any subtle theology Emotion: smile
I'm sure you already know that what's anatomically correct may not be semantically accurate in various languages. From a different ... have that many words for "snow": lack of precision and inability to perceive different nuances, which were "taught in kindergarten"

You mean you don't have 12 words for snow in English? Snow, snowflake, slush, sleet, blizzard, flurry, hoarfrost, rime, powder, hardpack, snowball, cornice, plus dozens of skiing terms, climbing terms, and so on. From what I know, the mythical Inuit words work in the same way. I can see absolutely no reason to be proud or scornful - although I do see reasons to be interested.
dorota guttfeld
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.Absolutely. Most kids find it difficult to get a thumb far up their nostril, for one.

Cheers - Ian
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I'm sure my questions must seem funny, but "how it ... known, but to grown-ups rather than children. Now it's clearer.

What is "clearer"? That English speaking kids are brainwashed by nursery songs into the notion that the thumb is not a finger?

By a nursery rhyme that I've never heard, what's more. I didn't realise that our children were so impressionable!
As far as Dorota's question goes: Depending on context, I might say I have five fingers on each hand (in my use, five is a valid answer to "how many fingers am I holding up?", for example), or I might say I have four fingers and a thumb. The context normally makes it quite clear as to which usage is implied, and I don't remember ever being misunderstood. It's not an adult/child thing - it's the language. If I felt that a lack of ambiguity were vital, I'd do as has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, and refer to all five as "digits". My children will almost certainly have learned similar usage through exactly the same processes by which they acquired the rest of their language.
Cheers - Ian
I nominate this as being the longest, least interesting thread in AUE today, not that I actually read most of it. Thumb, finger, who cares what they're called? We all know what they do, so who wants to discuss them?
My problem? Such posts use up the time the clever people of AUE could use to post on things that interest *me*. Not so tough since I'm interested in nearly everything. But not in thumbs.
20:09,

the

Indeed there is! (The very core of my personal collection of musical factoids comes from a later edition of the same work the last edition edited by Scholes himself, in fact that was the only musical reference work in the house when I was a child.)
It appears that the oldest English system (1599) was 1-5, and that the + system was copied from Germany from about 1760 onwards - whereupon the German publishers decided to adopt the 1-5 system . . .

Well, yes, that would be the ACCURATE version, as opposed to the version I remembered! Thanks for the correction. Now that you mention it, I believe I have seen 18th-century German printed music that uses the "English" system.

Roland Hutchinson Will play viola da gamba for food.

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20:09,

Another little Pondian difference: Areff "started taking piano", I "started to learn the piano" (or "having piano lessons"), though much more than 35 years ago, alas.

That was Erk (Evan Kirshenbaum) who said "I started taking piano", not me. I'm not sure whether it sounds idiomatic to me, but it isn't a usage I myself would use. I would say "I started taking piano lessons" or (less likely unless I was talking about autodidactism) "started to learn (or learning) the piano". "Having piano lessons" wouldn't work, or wouldn't work well, in AmE that's one of those have/take Pondian differences.
2047 (unsigned!), but who's counting?

Just how many fingers do you have?

Eleven, evidently, when I count them sufficiently late at night.

Roland Hutchinson Will play viola da gamba for food.

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Same here. Very interesting!

I wonder if Alan was playing from some very old music. We've got a few pieces with +, and I think they're a century old.
Mike.
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We do have at least one little nursery singing-game; but ... 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.

Do you do "Bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny, whoops bunny..."?

When he's older you can wow him with my patent method of counting out a total of eleven digits on the two hands combined. Counting off rapidly as usual, without breaking the rhythm you count the second-last finger twice by changing the finger you're tapping with, and end up on the last thumb with a count of eleven.

Mike.
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