Any truth behind this WWII story?

After I had been living in Germany for a year, I ended up saying “ow-ah” when I bashed myself without consciously deciding that was the term I wanted.

So based on my experience I think I’d pass the “stubbed toe” test, and I’d imagine most people would.

Habituation is a powerful thing. :slight_smile:

The reflexive “um” that you insert into a sentence when you’re not quite sure what to say next is replaced by “euugh” in French. I will endeavor to find a French person to punch and find out what it is they say when hurt. I would hazard a guess at “Merde!”

I would hazard a guess at “OK you win, I surrender” :smiley:

Are you saying that everywhere in the world except the U.S. people do not switch the hand their fork is in when eating, or that in the places you’ve been only children do that? Because unless you’ve been everywhere in the world it’s hard to say both.

The norm in Europe is fork in the left hand, knife in right hand, with no switching of forks at all.

In the UK the method you’ve described for switching fork-hands would be regarded as slighty bizarre were anyone to eat like this at most dinner tables.

It’s also not something I ever noticed when living in Germany.

Depends, I’ve heard it described as good manners to use a fork with your right hand if you don’t use the left for holding your knife.

The OP reminds me of an account from a Falklands War veteran I saw on a documentary. The British came up with the idea of having a password (or safe word, is there a military term?), calling out a name that the Argentinians, with their Spanish, couldn’t pronounce as an Anglo-Saxon would. Something to do with their soft pronounciation of “j”.

I eat with my fork in my right hand, for no reason I’ve ever managed to figure out, and people will occasionally ask if I’m let-handed but it’s not regarded as particularly odd. Switching the fork from hand to hand would almost certainly be regarded as a bit eccentric, however.

If you’re in a household where people sit down at a table, that is. For a TV dinner anything goes providing you keep the food off the floor and furniture.

Hamsters ate this at lunchtime, let’s try again: The British commandos on “Operation Chariot” did something similar. They used “War Weapons Week” as the challenge and “Welmouth” as the countersign. Good luck to the typical squarehead trying to pronounce that, even if he found it out. :smiley:

(See “Shibboleth” on Wikipedia where I lately added the same anecdote.)

Which is why the Gestapo interogator had a stenographer present writing down everything the prisoner said. Then he read the transcript and checked to see if he said “aiiii” or “ouch”.

I can confirm that the French sound produced in reaction to pa a so

What the ?? Sorry.

I can confirm that the French sound produced in reaction to pain is an open sound rather than a sound which closes towards a “w” or “ch” sound.

I was told a similar story by a French teacher in a French school were I worked - another way those pesky Germans caught people out was giving them a large pile of cards, papers or whatever and getting them to count them out … even the truly bilingual usually favour one language over another for counting quickly like that, seems the poor spies never had a chance trying to “un deux trois” at a realistic.

In Latin, also (or something pronounced more or less like that). The funny thing is, I use “um” a lot in my ordinary speech, but back when I was taking Latin, and had to recite something, I reflexively substituted “eu”.

In the situation McAuliffe was in at the time, “Nuts” certanly wasn’t in his immediate swearing vocabulary. “Bullshit!” or “Fuck Off!” was a more probable response.
IMHO of course.

Another apocryphal (sp?) spy catching device is to give the subject a piece of pie, and watch to see if the eat it point to crust, or crust first. Eating the point first is something supposedly only Americans do.

Prolly BS.

Maybe not. Remeber this was the 1940’s and “gentlemen” didn’t swear- well except for Patton, who note was notorious for it. If it had been common, why would Patton’s potty mouth be remarkable? Anyway, my Dad said that was one way you could tell a West Pointer (which McAuliffe was) from a guy brought up in the ranks- West Pointers tended not to use foul language (and the RING :wink: ) . But either “shit” or “nuts” got the idea across.

I would suspect so… If you eat the crust end first, the rest of the pie would fall apart. But then, what Americans think of as a pie is uncommon in the rest of the world: Other countries have similar confections, but they’re put together differently. So a non-American pie-equivalent might not even have a point at all: It might be a turnover with two points, or it might be a cobbler cut into squares, or it might be a round single-serving tart, or some other shape.

I don’t recall hearing our Group Commander, either of the two Squadron Commanders (one an Academy man and the other via Aviation Cadet training); or the Operations Officer (another West Pointer,Lucius D. Clay, Jr. in fact) swear in public. Maybe on rare occasions but it certainly wasn’t the usual course of events.

I’ve lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, and Arizona (along with a couple of US Air Bases in Japan), and I’ve never seen anyone over the age of 5 or 6 switching a fork back and forth while eating. Most right-handed folks will keep the fork in their right hand, unless using a knife, in which case the fork stays in the left hand.

Well, I’m born and raised American, but I had an English mother and grandmother, so I was taught to eat with the fork in my left hand, knife in my right, no switching back and forth.

What I cannot stand is seeing someone hold a fork in a fist like they’re stabbing someone. I saw an elegantly dressed lady doing this once at a formal dinner and I just went :eek:

Oh, a sort-of similar anecdote that I read in a book somewhere. This RAF pilot was shot down over France, and found himself having to make his way through a town to get somewhere. His survival training had taught him that the best way to get caught was to act nervous, so he acted as nonchalant as possible. He passes a man in the street, says “Bonjour!” to him cheerfully, and the guy immediatly grabs his arm, and pulls him inside the nearest house, where he is hidden in the cellar so the French Underground could pick him up before the Germans did.

Seems the French fellow recognized that this man was British… because of his RAF Uniform. :smack: