["yo" examples]

Michael Newman mnewman at QC.EDU
Mon Sep 24 12:00:24 UTC 2001

Doug Wilson makes a good case that 'yo' essentially replaces 'hey'
for my informants.

>-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?'

I'm less confident in his assertion about 'you know.' First, the kids
frequently use a reduced form of  you know what I mean, which
"Kareem" transcribes as 'nought I mean.'

>... 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?).]
>... I am sayin, breakin is cool yo.

Looks like "y'know" again.

Not that they couldn't use both forms, but the fact that 'yo' is
downstressed and both 'nought I mean' is 'ya know' are more heavily
stressed implies some kind of different analysis. Even if they are
functional equivalents, what is interesting linguistically with 'yo'
is that in the second case is that there is a particle of some kind
being used where no particle was ever used before, which is a
morphosyntactic change.
Michael Newman
Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
Dept. of Linguistics and Communication Disorders
Queens College/CUNY
Flushing, NY 11367

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