South Dakotan 'yet'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 11 03:35:36 UTC 2001

At 3:40 PM +0000 1/11/01, Lynne Murphy wrote:
>The below is from a transplanted Texan friend of mine in Sioux Falls.  AHD4
>doesn't cover this 'yet'--can anyone else tell me anything about it?
>---------- Forwarded Message ----------
>Date: Thursday, January 11, 2001 9:29 am -0600
>From: Kevin Cole <Kevin.Cole at>
>By the
>way, people up here often attach "yet" to end of sentences. For
>instance, "I need to go to the bank yet," "Is that a bottle of gin yet?"
>"Let's eat dinner at eight yet." The mood of the verb does not
>---------- End Forwarded Message ----------
funny; this is different from (but I suspect related to) a
well-established regional use of "yet" as 'still' in Wisconsin and
adjacent areas (esp. in areas with strong German substrate influence)
that is ALSO unmentioned in AHD4.*  We used to include

Is there turkey yet?

on our class dialect questionnaires to elicit this sense:  the
utterer is someone who arrives late at the Thanskgiving table hoping
some turkey remained, not (as in the Northeast) someone who arrives
early hoping to start stuffing him/herself.  The first of the South
Dakotan "yet"s is consistent with this, but the latter two aren't.
(I'm not sure WHAT they are:  if "Is that a bottle of gin yet?" the
drunkard's equivalent to "Is it soup yet?", uttered plaintively while
staring at a bottle of Poland Spring, then it's just the AHD4's sense
1 or 2, but I suspect something else was intended.)


*I know there's an AHD4 sense of "yet" given as 'still more', used
with comparatives, but that's distinct (yet again related to) the
'still' sense I'm describing.  I'd cite DARE, but I fear it will be a
while (yet) before we hit the Y's.  Any data on the distribution,

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