Aaron E. Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Fri Apr 7 10:46:35 UTC 2000

on 6/4/00 5:19 PM, Paul McFedries wrote:

> Can someone tell me the definition of "ya-ya" as used in the Rolling Stones'
> album title "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!"? Is it related to the sense used in the
> book title "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood"? What about this
> cite from the Washington Post:
>    "I CAN ONLY hope that the Bermuda tourist office ignores the advice
>    of David Segal. If there's anything Bermuda doesn't need, it's buzz.
>    It is one of the few places around that hasn't been polluted by ya-ya
>    hipsters wanting to make it like every other vacation 'paradise.' "

It sounds like the _Post_ article could be referring to what the Australians
call Pommies.  Not just English people, but upper-class, upper-middle class
"gits" generally from the Southeast of England, having attended public
schools (in the British sense) and later, possibly on to Oxbridge.  Also
called a "rah" in parts of northern England.

Stereotypically, a "yah" tends to end each sentence with the tag "yah?"
(although it's more accurately transcribed as "yeh") and is supposedly
called such for "saying 'yah' instead of 'yes'".  I've also heard a theory
that it comes from the royal family being of German decent and the upwardly
mobile always want to imitate the monarchy.

It's possible that all three of the examples are semantically related to
this particular group of people, but it's only a stab in the dark.

Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/~aaron      Departments of English Language and
aaron at ling.ed.ac.uk                    Theoretical & Applied Linguistics


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