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Monday, September 24, 2007

The History of the Finger

We have all experienced this in our normal everyday lives.

When we honk at someone on the road, they give us the finger.
When we ask someone to shut up in the cinema, they flip us the bird.
But where do all this finger-bird idea come from?
Our first thought would be to associate them as symbols of our manly pride and joy.
But that is very very far from the truth! In fact, the idea originated from a much more noble history.

I shall now therefore present to you the history of the origination of the middle finger:

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible for the English soldiers to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore incapable of fighting in the future.

The famous bow was made of the English Yew tree and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" or "pluck you". Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won the battle and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French and saying "We can still pluck yew. Pluck you".

Since "pluck yew" is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental 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 that yew knew everything!

Hope that you have found this enlightening and educational. As there are many more alternative versions of the story, the truth remains out there!

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