Goose/The Finger

Donald M Lance lancedm at MISSOURI.EDU
Tue Jan 22 20:16:59 UTC 2002

I think they're trying to tell you the bird is the goose, but my South
Midland doubting Thomas also wonders if that's right.  Geese have been known
to peck people's behinds as well as other parts of the anatomy, so that's
the connection they're trying to make--I think.  Probably not a peckerwood
or woodpecker.

> From: "Dennis R. Preston" <preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU>
> Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 14:36:32 -0500
> Subject: Re: Goose/The Finger
> 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,
> robin?
> dInIs
>> 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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