The symbole, also called ar vuoc'h ("the cow"), was an object used by Francophone headmasters in public and private schools in Brittany, French Flanders, Occitania, Basque Country and North Catalonia as a means of punishment for students caught speaking Breton, Flemish, Occitan, Basque, or Catalan during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Generally, the student was supposed to pass the symbole onto another of his fellow students after catching him speaking Breton, Occitan or Catalan (referred to as patois). The student in possession of the object at the end of recess, the half-day, or the day would be punished with, for example, manual labor, extra homework, corporal punishment, or organized mockery led by the headmaster.
The symbole could be:
The purpose of its use was: