["yo" examples]

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Sep 21 16:03:57 UTC 2001

>I offer no interpretations because I haven't been focusing on the issue
>yet. I welcome anyone else's.

Here are my offhand ones.

>-think in, in um, yo any type of music ...

= thinkin' in, um -- hey -- any type of music ... [?]

>... like yo, you met Malik?

= ... like, 'Hey, you met Malik?'

>... whereas I speak it so I can't really say yo.

Looks as though it might be M. Salovesh's "y'know". [I note "whereas": I
use it like this but some find it peculiar (pretentious?).]

>-Havin a conversation with Karim is like something totally piss. Yo
>he'll make you think so much, it's like ridiculous the things he
>comes up wit. It's like real creative, but kinda bugged out, yo.

One = "hey", one again like "y'know" (likely).

>... like yo, it's true, but yo, who thinks about stuff like that.

= "... like yeah [OR hey], it's true, but, hey, who thinks about stuff like

>... we gonna go yo, remember that night.

= "... we gonna go, 'Hey, remember that night.'

>... I am sayin, breakin is cool yo.

Looks like "y'know" again.

>... he was like yo, I just picked a package up, know what I mean?

"Yo" = "Hey" again. Can the "know what I mean?" be freely replaced with
that final "yo"?

>-I waited like twenty minutes then I went back outside, went back
>outside I see this thing, I'm like "yo, son, remember that gun shot?"
>he was like "yeah." "Yo, what happen?"  He was like "Yo man, po lice
>got bagged."  I wuz like "word" I was like "what happened? "

"Yo" = "Hey".

>-then Kareem was like yo ya'll should make a track...

"Yo" = "Hey".

>-I told him yo were battlin' ...He's like "yo I ain't tryin to steal
>your image or your flow." ...

First "yo" = "you" or "y'all", second = "Hey".

>-Andre just got mad sothen for like the whole year, even up yo like
>the beginin of this year, I aint speak to him.

Don't know.

>... "yo, you wanna do a song in Spanish?"...

"Yo" = "Hey" again.

All the "yo = hey" examples would have looked natural to me with "hey"
decades ago, I think.

I picture the OED's first example of "yo" (1420) as similar to this [but
maybe I'm misconstruing it]: "3aw thar suche him no mare" = "Yo there, seek
him no more" = "Hey there, seek him no more".

The terminal "yo" might be "y'know". Perhaps it could be a vocative
"y'all", at least in some cases. With different stress/intonation perhaps,
it could be "hey" again, or the stereotypical Canadian "eh".

As a likely irrelevancy, I note that Japanese has an 'emphatic' (I think
maybe sort of 'masculine-sounding') terminal particle "yo": is this used in
the recent TV 'Japanimation' by any chance?

-- Doug Wilson

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