On 6/24/05, Andreas Johansson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Quoting # 1 <[log in to unmask]>:
> > I have a question about fingers:
> >
> > How common is it in languages of the world to have diffenrent names for the
> > 4 other fingers than the thumb? Names that are not only a distinction of
> > sizes or order?
> >
> > I know that there aresuch names in French but not English. What's about the
> > other languages?
> >
> > It is to know if I really need to create names for the 4 little fingers in
> > addition of the generic word for finger or if people don't really need to be
> > so specific or are confortable with using size/order distinction
> Swedish has got such names, for what it's worth:
> tumme ("thumb")
> pekfinger ("pointing finger")
> långfinger ("long finger")
> ringfinger ("ring finger")
> lillfinger ("little finger")

So does Finnish:

1 peukalo (thumb -- FWIW, the Swedish word _tumme_ seems to have been
  borrowed into Finnish as _tuuma_ "inch")
2 etusormi (lit. "forefinger")
3 keskisormi (lit. "middlefinger")
4 nimetön / nimetön sormi (lit. "nameless (one)" / "nameless finger")
5 pikkusormi (lit. "smallfinger"; there's also _pikkurilli_, which
  seems to be more colloquial. No idea what the _rilli_ part means)

As you can probably guess, _sormi_ is the Finnish word for "finger".
_etu-_ and _keski-_ are common prefixes for "fore-, first" and
"middle, central", respectively; _pikku_ means "small" or "little".
_peukalo_ has no obvious analysis (just like _thumb_). -- I wonder why
the fourth finger is "nameless"...

In the Finnish cartoon "Viivi ja Wagner", the two main characters once
had a discussion about the five fingers when Viivi caught Wagner
sucking his thumb and started making fun of him, so Wagner had to
explain to her that he had good reasons, not just for sucking his
thumb, but for sucking other fingers as well: they all have a specific
flavor (they all tasted of something that starts with the same letter
in Finnish -- the _peukalo_ tasted of _peruna_ (potatoes) IIRC, the
_etusormi_ of _etikka_ (vinegar), and so on). He didn't give a flavor
for the middle finger, though, because no one in their right mind
would suck that one. ;-)


   Julia Simon (Schnecki) -- Sprachen-Freak vom Dienst
_@"  schnecki AT iki DOT fi / helicula AT gmail DOT com  "@_
si hortum in bybliotheca habes, deerit nihil
                                        (M. Tullius Cicero)