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Friday, December 9, 2011

Parts of the Hand


Look at the picture above. Can you name all the parts? (The numbered fingers; the red dots; the white outlined areas; the dark area at the center; and the part covered by the watch)


In the picture above, we can see all of the following:
a. the thumb (5): This is the shortest of the digits (the name for the thumb and fingers together). It has only two knuckles (see "g" below) while the fingers have three. The thumb is one of the things that makes humans (and some apes) different from the other animals.
b. the index finger (4): The first finger, also called the "forefinger" and the "pointer finger." The word "index" is related to the word "indicate," because we usually use this finger to indicate (point at) things.
c. the middle finger (3): The second finger, it is usually the longest. Waving this finger at someone is considered extremely insulting in Western countries, and should be avoided.
d. the ring finger (2): The third finger, this finger on the left hand is the place where most married people wear a ring in many cultures. The ancient Romans believed that this finger was closely connected to the heart.
e. the little finger (1): the fourth finger, and usually the shortest. It is often called "the pinky," and a ring worn there is a "pinky ring."
f. the fingernails (the white outlined areas): Also called "the nails," these protect the end of the finger. (The ends of the fingers are also called "the fingertips.")
g. the knuckles (the red dots): These are the joints (bending places) of the fingers and thumb. Bending all the knuckles so the hand is closed is called "making a fist."
h. the back of the hand (the dark area at the center): On the other side is the soft, inner side of the hand, called "the palm." This is protected when we make a fist. Some people believe that the lines there can tell a person about his or her future.
i. the wrist (covered by the watch): This is the joint that joins the hand to the arm. A watch worn there can be called a "wristwatch."


1. Which digit is different from the other four? What are two things that make it different?
2. Which digit can be used to insult another person? Which one is important in many marriage ceremonies?
3. What is a "fist"? What can it be used for?
4. What does a "palm reader" look at? Point to that part of your hand. What does he or she tell you?
5. What do some people wear on their wrist?


1. What do each of the digits' names mean in your language? Are any of them important in your culture? How?
2. Do you believe in palm reading?
3. What else can people wear on their wrists? Are there other ways to decorate the hand in your culture?


1. The thumb; it has only two joints, and moves differently.
2. The middle finger; the ring finger.
3. A closed hand (when all the knuckles are bent); for hitting somebody or something (like knocking on a door) and may other uses.
4. The lines on the soft area in the center of the hand. He or she tells you about your future.
5. Bracelets, for example

This lesson is ©2011 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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