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Simple question: if a leg hurts me, do I still say "la kruro doloras min", although I have two of them?

Why I'm wondering is because I feel a contradiction with the definite meaning of the article la for single objects. In other situations I'm aware of, it's linked to the fact that the object is uniquely identifiable: something that has been mentioned earlier in the conversation, something that's unique on its own etc. But here the listener wouldn't know if it's my left leg or the right one! Is it a separate use case that doesn't share the connotation? Or is there something better I should be saying instead?

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  • perhaps you could say "mia kruro doloras min"? so if it is one leg, kruro, two legs kruroj?
    – Zuoanqh
    May 9, 2018 at 1:19

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I suppose you could. I'd be more inclined to say "mia kruro" or "la (mal)dekstra kruro."

Note that de/je/en/per/ĉe la mano are common expressions (sometimes idiomatic) and often have the same issue you described. That's why I said "I suppose you could."

I found a reference in La majstro kaj Margarita, fragmentoj to "la gambo doloras ..." and certainly there are other references to a singular leg.

This one seems to be done to preserve the rhyme.

  • Atakis teruro, ektremis la kruro.

And here are a few more:

  • li rompis al si la kruron
  • [Mustafo] karesfrotis la kruron de Stefankarlo.

As you might have guessed, legs are more often referred to in the plural. It also seems at least as common to refer to a singular leg as mia, lia - and so forth... but note that this doesn't really avoid the initial concern. "My leg" (mia kruro) is just as definite in English (and Esperanto) as "the leg" (la kruro).

Li rompis al si la kruron doesn't suggest that he only had one to break any more than "he broke his leg" does.

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