Goose/The Finger

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Tue Jan 22 19:36:32 UTC 2002

As I grow older, I lack clarity. Yes, I know that to give somebody
the bird is to give somebody the finger. Why do we say bird instead
of finger? And is it really the case that everybody except Mark and
me knows the identity of the bird being referred to? Kiwi, tit, jay,


>On Tue, 22 Jan 2002, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>#I'm as ignorant as Mark. What bird? Why bird at all?
>#>On Sat, 19 Jan 2002, carljweber wrote:
>#>#A little offer of twined thread synthesis. The "finger" is otherwise "the
>#>#bird," and otherwise f.u. Everybody knows what bird.
>"Give so. the bird" = "give so. the finger" in NYC and
>Boston-area, at least.
>-- Mark A. Mandel
>    Linguist at Large

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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