South Dakotan 'yet'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 16 11:41:20 UTC 2001

At 3:08 PM -0500 1/16/01, Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM wrote:
>Larry Horn writes:
>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.
>I suspect this goes back to the other sense of "yet", in which the
>(putative) present is a continuation of a past state rather than the
>inception of an expected future state:
>      His monument is standing yet = His monument is still standing.
>I can read Larry's example in this way more easily if I move "yet" left:
>      Is there yet turkey?
>Of course this isn't scholarly: we'd need to check earlier attested uses.
>But maybe someone can do that. So this isn't scholarly yet. (Sorry.)

I think they're at least slightly different.  I can get Mark's
example but only if I stress the "yet".  The Wisconsinite "yet" was
unstressed and lacks the rhetorical effect of the stressed "yet" =
'still' examples ("I remember it yet", "They can win it yet").  For
those of us not in the relevant dialect group, the unstressed ("Is
there turkey yet?") struck us as really deviant.


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