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#1
Old 05-26-2004, 06:52 PM
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Meaning of sticking your tongue out?

Can anyone put into words what the feeling behind sticking your tongue out is?
Within Western cultures, are there differences?
#2
Old 05-26-2004, 06:59 PM
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I think of it like flipping the bird, but for six year olds.
#3
Old 05-26-2004, 07:16 PM
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Because it IS such a juvenile gesture I always associate good humor/good nature with it: "Let's be kids/friends now, ok?" But also, like flipping the bird it represents the end of a discussion. I'll do it here when I recognize that my opinion is 180 degrees from someone else's, but that I lack either the ground or the desire to do battle about it.

Of course, there's always the neener neener factor--reserved for when people whom I consider idiots try to intimidate on a computer or flame my opinion.
#4
Old 05-26-2004, 07:25 PM
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I've always thought of it as a symbolic "I spit on you" gesture, and thus the reason why it is considered extremely rude by some in the US.

Unless, of course, the tongue is extended in a flattened shape, with the tip gracing an arc upwards... in which case it means "I want to perform cunnilingus/fellatio upon you."
#5
Old 05-26-2004, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bughunter
I've always thought of it as a symbolic "I spit on you" gesture, and thus the reason why it is considered extremely rude by some in the US.

Unless, of course, the tongue is extended in a flattened shape, with the tip gracing an arc upwards... in which case it means "I want to perform cunnilingus/fellatio upon you."
I'm surprised that no one has made the connection between sticking out the tongue and infants spitting out food. It is a sign of rejection. Some folks think it is unforgivably rude while others think it's cute. I think it depends on how personally you take it, and (as with many nonverbals) the context it is used in.

--SSgtBaloo
#6
Old 05-26-2004, 08:41 PM
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There's the committed minority who believes it improves athletic performance.

http://img.slate.msn.com/media/48000...del_Jordan.JPG
#7
Old 05-26-2004, 09:19 PM
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In IM conversations, I use it more than the wink to indicate "just teasing" or "yeah, I'm being a brat here."
#8
Old 05-26-2004, 11:38 PM
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As far as I know, it means "thhhbbbttttt!"
#9
Old 05-26-2004, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Llama
As far as I know, it means "thhhbbbttttt!"
Yeah, I already know that, I believe I asked to "put into words" the feeling behind it.
#10
Old 05-26-2004, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Askia
There's the committed minority who believes it improves athletic performance.

http://img.slate.msn.com/media/48000...del_Jordan.JPG
Actually, it DOES work for Ronnie Belliard
#11
Old 05-26-2004, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelCthefirst
Yeah, I already know that, I believe I asked to "put into words" the feeling behind it.
Yeah, I did... and the word was "thhhbbbttttt!"

Also, it was a joke. Lighten up.
#12
Old 05-27-2004, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Llama
Yeah, I did... and the word was "thhhbbbttttt!"

Also, it was a joke. Lighten up.
Sorry - got the joke!
"thhhbbbttttt" is only one word.
I've been getting shitty in another forum.
#13
Old 05-27-2004, 12:08 AM
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and not a "feeling".
#14
Old 05-27-2004, 12:26 AM
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I see it as a funny little piece of non-veral communication, always reserved for use amongst friends and often with a meaning something like "you may be right, but nuts to you anyway." A friendly insult.

Sticking one's tongue out at a stranger would be wierdly childish I think.
#15
Old 05-27-2004, 02:29 AM
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Since I was a little kid I've had what they call a "geographic" tongue--wide and deeply furrowed. Maybe I had some kind of Vitamin B deficiency during infancy...
When we were little kids and someone stuck their tongue out we would say, "No, thanks--I use toilet paper."
#16
Old 05-27-2004, 02:46 AM
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I wouldn't know. I've never been able to stick my tongue out anyway, so it wasn't an insult I commonly used.
#17
Old 05-27-2004, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airman Doors, USAF
I wouldn't know. I've never been able to stick my tongue out anyway, so it wasn't an insult I commonly used.
Yet Robyn still married you?

Joking!!!!!
#18
Old 05-27-2004, 06:27 AM
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To quote my ex-wife, "When a girl sticks her tongue out at you, it means she wants to kiss you."
#19
Old 05-27-2004, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
I'm surprised that no one has made the connection between sticking out the tongue and infants spitting out food. It is a sign of rejection. Some folks think it is unforgivably rude while others think it's cute. I think it depends on how personally you take it, and (as with many nonverbals) the context it is used in.
Actually, this is precisely what cultural anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss says in one of his books (The Origin of Table Manners?).

Ordinarily I don't agree with C L-S, being a Marvin Harris-Cultural Materialist type, but I think he (and you) have the right answer here.
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#20
Old 05-27-2004, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airman Doors, USAF
I wouldn't know. I've never been able to stick my tongue out anyway, so it wasn't an insult I commonly used.
Hmmm Hmm hmmmmm ......... eh? Would it be rude to beg a hijack to explain? H'aint ya got no tongue, boy?
#21
Old 05-27-2004, 12:28 PM
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On a coupla occasions I have had women use the gesture as an erotic "I'd like to get to know you better" type of thing, typically after 1 a.m. in a bar.
#22
Old 05-27-2004, 12:46 PM
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Are you sure that they weren't just throwing up?
#23
Old 05-27-2004, 01:06 PM
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Yo, jellytoes...come to think of it, later that evening passionate kisses tasted kinda foul......
#24
Old 05-27-2004, 01:22 PM
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I saw a young stripper on stage sticking her tongue out at various people in the audience, and no, it was not in an erotic way. She did it like a six year-old and had a perpetual grouchy pissed-off look on her face. Seemed to be like "yeah I'm bad for stripping, and you're pathetic for watching me" kinda thing. The guys seemed to like it, but that was probably due to her other much more interesting assets and how the guys were imagining they'd "discipline" this bratty girl .
#25
Old 05-27-2004, 01:36 PM
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I stuck my tongue out at a woman at a party once, to say "I have no logical response to your argument, but I declare victory anyway." To which she said "Don't point that at me unless you intend to use it." Ended up being quite a fun evening.

And add me to the list of folks who are curious about Airman Doors' lingual deficiency.
#26
Old 05-27-2004, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya
Hmmm Hmm hmmmmm ......... eh? Would it be rude to beg a hijack to explain? H'aint ya got no tongue, boy?
You know that small piece of connective tissue that connects your tongue to the base of your mouth, also called the frenulum? Well, mine extends all the way to the tip of my tongue (as does my son's), and therefore I cannot stick out my tongue in any conventional manner. I can eke out a side of it by twisting my tongue and curling my lips back, but Gene Simmons I am not.

This condition is also known as ankyloglossia, or "being tongue-tied".

Now you know.
#27
Old 05-27-2004, 04:39 PM
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It can also mean "I'm concentrating."
#28
Old 05-27-2004, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airman Doors, USAF
You know that small piece of connective tissue that connects your tongue to the base of your mouth, also called the frenulum? Well, mine extends all the way to the tip of my tongue (as does my son's), and therefore I cannot stick out my tongue in any conventional manner. I can eke out a side of it by twisting my tongue and curling my lips back, but Gene Simmons I am not.
So what do you do when you get something stuck in your teeth and you don't have toothpicks?

Anyways, I've always associated sticking out your tongue with chewing with your mouth open. It's something we don't want to see so to do it is to demonstrate a disrespect for some person.

Besides it really depend where the tongue is ending up.
#29
Old 05-27-2004, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nocturnal_tick
So what do you do when you get something stuck in your teeth and you don't have toothpicks?
I basically just suffer with it until I can take care of it.

The nasty part, and maybe this is TMI, is when you eat stuff like peanut butter and it gets stuck between your gums and your lip on the side of your mouth? Well, since I can't do anything about it with my tongue, I'm forced to surreptitiously use a finger when nobody's looking. Otherwise I'd have to brush my teeth every five minutes.

Such is life. At least it's not your finger.
#30
Old 05-27-2004, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airman Doors, USAF
I basically just suffer with it until I can take care of it.

The nasty part, and maybe this is TMI, is when you eat stuff like peanut butter and it gets stuck between your gums and your lip on the side of your mouth? Well, since I can't do anything about it with my tongue, I'm forced to surreptitiously use a finger when nobody's looking. Otherwise I'd have to brush my teeth every five minutes.

Such is life. At least it's not your finger.
I really hate to continue this hijack (because I kinda expect I might be part of the cause of it having tongued the OP in another thread) but i need to ask--can't you just cut the dang frenulum back to a more common position?
#31
Old 05-27-2004, 05:06 PM
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Nope. It doesn't impede my speech significantly or my ability to eat, and I don't really feel the need to learn how to talk again after removing something that I have adapted to.

Besides, it makes for an interesting curiosity.

OTOH, we'll be keeping a close watch on Aaron, and if it becomes an impediment we'll get it taken care of. Otherwise it'll be like father, like son.
#32
Old 05-27-2004, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calm kiwi
Yet Robyn still married you?

Joking!!!!!
He's got other, um, talents.

Robin
#33
Old 05-27-2004, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airman Doors, USAF
Nope. It doesn't impede my speech significantly or my ability to eat, and I don't really feel the need to learn how to talk again after removing something that I have adapted to.

Besides, it makes for an interesting curiosity.

OTOH, we'll be keeping a close watch on Aaron, and if it becomes an impediment we'll get it taken care of. Otherwise it'll be like father, like son.
WRT Aaron, his pediatrician is disinclined to do anything for it. It hasn't affected his feeding ability, and so far, he has no significant speech impediments that would justify such a procedure. And, so far as anyone can tell, Aaron's frenulum doesn't go to the tip of his tongue like his father.

Robin
#34
Old 05-27-2004, 11:03 PM
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In Tibet, sticking out the tongue is considered a friendly greeting and is perfectly polite. You'd be rude if you didn't stick out your tongue.

One explanation I've heard for this is that it demonstrates you're not a poisoner. Poisoners are popularly supposed to have black tongues. (Maybe from the idea that, like Vizzini, they dose themselves with minute, gradually increasing amounts of poison to render themselves immune to it.) So if this explanation is true, it would be like holding up your hand to wave "Hi!", a gesture that originated as a way to show you're not holding any weapons. To communicate "I am a friend, or at least I am not an enemy."
#35
Old 05-28-2004, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bughunter
I've always thought of it as a symbolic "I spit on you" gesture, and thus the reason why it is considered extremely rude by some in the US.
Who considers it to be extremely rude, and what do they take it to mean? While it is a mildly disrespectful gesture, I can't really see anyone being offended by it.
#36
Old 05-28-2004, 04:17 AM
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Apparently in the Maori culture it has an altogether different meaning than the childish "I don't like it" gesture. In the outstanding movie "UTU" it is done by Maori warriors several times in a sort of ritualistic manor. Perhaps the OPer who hails from New Zealand can shed some light as to its significance. Thanks
#37
Old 05-28-2004, 06:11 AM
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Right, so my memory of Princess Bride was slightly garbled. It wasn't Vizzini who prepared himself with minute amounts of poison, it was Westley. Anyway, you get my point, I hope...
#38
Old 05-28-2004, 11:48 AM
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There is a trend in Japan, I'm told, of frenulum reduction surgery, especially in children. The idea is to make the Asian tongue more adaptable to the "L" and "R" sounds in learning English. It's controversial, and some surgeons say it's not necessary.
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#39
Old 05-28-2004, 03:43 PM
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One of the Polynesian love gods (IIRC Kuuipo Aloha) is generally depicted with the soles of his feet and his tongue sticking out. These represent both the defiance of authority that love can inspire in humans, and the way that love itself seems to follow no rules.

So it ain't just a European behavior.

Airman Doors

I ask this in complete seriousness. Does ankyloglossia cause problems during medical examinations? Is the doctor still able to get a decent look at your tonsils and such? Umm.. Could you start an Ask The thread?
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#40
Old 05-28-2004, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookeze
To quote my ex-wife, "When a girl sticks her tongue out at you, it means she wants to kiss you."
Years ago, I was riding a bus and looking out the rear window. In a car following the bus a young woman was riding in the front seat; when she saw me she stuck her tongue out, with her mouth wide open around it; she smirked, as well as one can under those cirucmstances, and she wagged the tongue around and rolled her eyes wildly. She was accompanied by two young guys; I wonder what she would have done if I had shown her my outsize, "geographic" tongue...:
#41
Old 05-28-2004, 04:22 PM
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No one has mentioned the Bronx cheer, so, I just did.
#42
Old 05-30-2004, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peanuthead
Apparently in the Maori culture it has an altogether different meaning than the childish "I don't like it" gesture. In the outstanding movie "UTU" it is done by Maori warriors several times in a sort of ritualistic manor. Perhaps the OPer who hails from New Zealand can shed some light as to its significance. Thanks

That's why I asked about the meaning in Western cultures, which I am interested in - I'm assuming that it would have a meaning in any culture, but I want to know what someone is trying to say when they stick their tongue out in a Western culture.
In Maori culture it is used during the Haka which is a challenge, so it supposedly makes the face look fierce. The Haka is used to say, 'I dare you to come and fight us' - in almost all tribal groups, only men are allowed to do the Haka.
In my experience, outside of this traditional use, if a Maori person stuck their tongue out, it would be in the western sense.
#43
Old 05-31-2004, 12:46 AM
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Thanks MelCthefirst. You have satisfied my curiosity and increased my knowledge.
#44
Old 09-24-2011, 05:05 AM
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The meaning of sticking your tingue out..

Just saw this 'old' thread and thought I'd add something.
A psychologist once told me a plausible reason for this...and a good way to assess psychological reasons behind our behaviour/actions. You must look at the behaviour before it is a 'learned' behaviour. This occurs in very young infants and in adults when they behave subconsciously. Her (psychologist) theory on sticking-out-tongue, was to send the message, 'keep away from me now'. This makes sense because children often stick their tongues out when mildly upset and need time 'alone' to work through their immediate situation. In adults we do this (subconsciously) when we are concentrating hard on something, threading a needle for example, and being disturbed will hamper our efforts. It all made perfect sense to me.
There is one exception I have heard about (and mentioned elsewhere on this thread). I once asked an old Maori about the Haka. He explained they are not 'sticking' there tongue out (in the western sense), they are 'offering' their tongue. They are literally saying, come and cut this off, because when you are close enough to cut off my tongue you are close enough for me to kill you. I liked this story and if you watch the Haka, it does seem plausible. I also heard an explanation from a white New Zealand rugby player who suggested it meant, 'I am going to kill you and then put this (tongue) in your missus'. I prefer the more ancient, Maori explanation:-)
#45
Old 09-24-2011, 08:31 AM
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My older brother's riposte to me sticking my tongue out at him was "You're not going to put that back in your mouth are you?"
#46
Old 09-24-2011, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by The_Llama View Post
As far as I know, it means "thhhbbbttttt!"
Yet another instance of the great username/post content combo series.
#47
Old 09-24-2011, 06:32 PM
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How appropriate -- a Zombie thread about sticking out the tongue.

I have argued in an eminent publication that the "tongue sticking out" gesture of the Gorgoneion (face of the Gorgon) and its parallels around the world (Bes in Egypt, Humbaba in Mesopotamia, Khirtimukkha and Rahu in India, and a host of others comes from the ultimate inspiration for the image:


SPOILER:
a bloated corpse, in which the internal decay gases cause the tongue to protrude and the eyes to bug out, among other changes



This is different from other uses of the gesture, with its juvenile/taunt implications. I'd heard the Maori explanation, but that seems to differ in intent from the gesture as used in Western Culture. The only good explanation I've heard for that co,mes from anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss. Ordinarily I'm not fond of his explanations, but this one looks like it has a chance of being correct.

He believed it was derived from an infant's pushing food out of its mouth with its tongue when it was full (or didn't like the food).

Last edited by CalMeacham; 09-24-2011 at 06:33 PM.
#48
Old 09-24-2011, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peanuthead View Post
Apparently in the Maori culture it has an altogether different meaning than the childish "I don't like it" gesture. In the outstanding movie "UTU" it is done by Maori warriors several times in a sort of ritualistic manor. Perhaps the OPer who hails from New Zealand can shed some light as to its significance. Thanks
In The Whale Rider, the young girl's uncle explains that it was done as a threat to the enemy fighters - in essence, saying "We will kill you and then EAT you!"
#49
Old 09-25-2011, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael View Post
In The Whale Rider, the young girl's uncle explains that it was done as a threat to the enemy fighters - in essence, saying "We will kill you and then EAT you!"
That's the understanding I always had.

Somewhat in line with the controversy over Maori portraits on stamps (way way back in the 80's) because licking the stamp could be seen as a form of 'eating' the person portrayed, an insult where the intent was to honour.
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