Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Useful history lesson

One of the most favoured expressions of all time is "Fook you!" That coupled with the appropriate gesture (see pix of the little hooligan above) is instantly recognisable the world over & whose meaning are never in doubt.

Well, here's the meaning behind the raised finger & the history behind that oft used & abused phrase that has entered our modern lexicon. I received this history lesson from me friend Kevo (TQ mate!) & thought I'd share it with you. I have reproduced said email verbatim.

Reminds me of that old adage, you learn something new everyday. Indeed . . .

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" or "pluck yew".

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, "See, we can still pluck yew!".

Since'"pluck yew" is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals fricative "F", and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute!

It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird.

And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing!
PS: If any of you have any interesting stories bout the origins of local swear words/gestures, please feel free to share them with us here.


senorita.. said...

haha.. "giving the bird"

MyRAWK ADMIN said...

Dear All KOPites,

We all know that we are in a stuttering mode currently but we are not alone!. So here's an update on http://my-rawk.blogspot.com featuring articles on:
1) Post Match EPL Report : Liverpool V Tottenham by JonC
2) Gerrard: No Panic at the DISCO (LFC News)
3) The return of Xabi and Agger (LFC News)
4) Time to ReClaim out CLUB (article contribution)
5) Fatherly Advice: The Dog, The Kennel and Project (article contribution)

Also, we will be celebrating a special event for all LIVERPOOL fans on OCT 20th at the M BAR in conjunction with the EVERTON v LIVERPOOL FC game......there will be prizes, gifts, tokens and most of all friendship and...................OOps...details to be issued to you later!!
watch out for emails and keep reading http://my-rawk.blogspot.com

Are you RED enough!
Best Regards and You'll Never Walk Alone

(Malaysian Red and White Kopites)

senorita.. said...

oookay... anticipating the return of Agger... =P

weiyin69 said...

Pluck! That's a good story! Ha ha. And I always thought the middle finger was used because of some other reason ...

anfield devotee said...

can anyone explain why we Malaysians hit our closed fist with an open palm to signify our displeasure?

Any ideas as to the origins of this gesture?