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Non-verbal derogatory language change

Old Sep 16th, 2003, 05:40 AM
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Non-verbal derogatory language change

This may seem off topic, but after an 8 year absence from London, I discovered this summer that the English have appeared to have changed from the middle and index fingers pointing up to the sky (what us yanks call the reverse peace sign), to simply the index finger pointing skywards, palm in. Has this change reached other parts of Europe as well?
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 05:53 AM
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Another one is where you form a loose fist with you hand and move it up and down rapidly at someone. Uniquely British
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 05:57 AM
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You say "the English", not "an English person", so it seems that you witnessed this multiple times. Just what did you do?
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 06:02 AM
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Here's the smiley for my last post:

Hey, stevelondon88, that loose fist thing sounds to be a pretty universal thing. That even if people didn't use it in their culture, they would still understand it.
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 06:02 AM
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We thought it was another European habit we were adopting. Too many foreigners thought we meant "peace" or "victory".

Adopting this bit of Euroness, we thought, was less trouble than drinking beer by the litre, and less damaging than using Euros.

Incidentally, the most common explanation of the reverse V is that it started life as an anti-French gesture.

Our archers were so devastating to the French, that any captured had their bow fingers amputated. At the beginning of a battle (any fight big enough to be called a battle was, by definition, with the French) our archers waved their fingers to make it clear that our traditional enemy could expect our traditional courtesy.
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Old Sep 16th, 2003, 02:19 PM
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Thank you flanneruk and stevelondon. Mrwunrfl, I'm no >, but I went to a music festival and hung out with old friends in pubs. Is it the same sign in Italy? I seem to recall it being the same in France.
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Old Sep 17th, 2003, 08:23 AM
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After having had to drive in London last week, I would have liked to have used any variety of hand gestures at the stupid scooters zipping in and out of traffic. Maybe next time I'll just run them all down.
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Old Sep 17th, 2003, 08:43 AM
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Thanks flanneruk; that archer explanation sounds entirely plausible. Good story -- brings to mind the Branagh Henry V movie.

I'll avoid commenting on the general deterioration in verbal communication standards, on both sides of the pond. Don't want to sound like an old f**t -- but when George Carlin's seven forbidden words become everyday speech, where do you go? Invent new words? So maybe new (or other culture's) gestures provide more creative ways to be rude.
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