Military industrial complex lays Pommy lexicographer low

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed May 2 17:50:27 UTC 2001

>But I don't see a quotation later than 1812 in either the SND or in the
>OED where this pronominal "yon" unambiguously refers to a person.  On the
>basis of the evidence in those two sources, the personal application of
>the word seems rare if not obsolete nowadays -- which makes the personal
>demonstrative pronoun use of "yonder" even harder to explain, if it has
>anything to do with "yon."

I suppose "yonder" and "yon" are alternatives in all or almost all usages.
But whether or not this is so ... my OED (of course it's the photoreduced
edition available to the rabble) shows "yonder" as a pronoun ("dialectal"),
and gives a citation from 1880 in which it refers to a man -- equivalent to
"that [one]" or "he" in this example.

"Yon[der]" tends to be old-fashioned or dialectal in general, of course ...
but a current Web item gives "yon" as a distinctive dialectal item in
Yorkshire (ambiguous as to adjective versus pronoun), and another page
suggests current use in Shetland for "that" (pronoun).

-- Doug Wilson

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