The World Forum - May 26th, 2024

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IFP News: Middle finger history



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.' 

IT IS STILL AN APPROPRIATE SALUTE TO THE FRENCH TODAY! 

And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing!

Author: Ross Vaughan

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