[Ads-l] "Yay long"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 3 13:59:44 EDT 2017


I don't have access to Publisher Extra on Newspapers.com, but this looks
legit...

Arizona Republic, Mar. 22, 1950, p. 3
Shirley, who says she's been riding since she was "yea high"...
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/116762710/


On Sun, Sep 29, 2013 at 12:17 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> He is a verified instance in 1956 and an unverified instance that is
> probably from 1955.
>
> [ref] 1956 January, The American Mercury, "She Razzes Executives - and
> They Love It!" by Edward Cope, Start Page 103, Quote Page 106, Column
> 1,  The American Mercury, Inc., New York. (Unz)
>
> [End excerpt]
> He had just been transferred to a big-city branch of a farm-machine
> company and he was, she recalls, a definite country type himself.
>
> JoVan claimed him as a long-unseen nephew. "Last time I laid eyes on
> you, you was yea high." She indicated the height of a four-year-old
> child.
> [Begin excerpt]
>
>
> Here is the match in GB that looks promising. A probe with 1955
> indicates that the volume in GB contains at least a section that was
> "Published by the SENATE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA 1955"
>
> Year: 1955
> Title: Partial report relating to workmen's compensation, Volume 1
> Publisher: Senate of the State of California
> (Google Books data may be inaccurate)
>
> http://books.google.com/books?id=gn3zua52issC&q=%22yea+high%
> 22#search_anchor
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> If they were to review all of the evidence and testimony — the record
> of a given case — I don't think they could possibly accomplish it. I
> have seen some of the files yea high. SENATOR MURDY : You don't think
> there would be any
> [End excerpt]
>
> A syndicated column about words and phrases by William Morris
> discussed this type of "yea" or "yay" twice in 1964. I will post some
> excerpts.
>
> Garson
>
> On Sat, Sep 28, 2013 at 9:57 PM, Jim Parish <jparish at siue.edu> wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Jim Parish <jparish at SIUE.EDU>
> > Subject:      Re: "Yay long"
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------
> >
> > Joel S. Berson wrote:
> >> Did Jim Parish or his communicant see "yay" in print, or is it a
> >> rendering of something merely spoken?
> >>
> >> I, like a couple of others, would have spelled it "yea".
> >
> > I don't recall whether I've ever seen it in print, unless perhaps in a
> > letter from my brother; but "yay" has always been the spelling I've
> > assigned to it. More, I can see someone reading "yay" and pronouncing it
> > /jai/, as my friend did; I can't see that with the spelling "yea". I'll
> > check with both of them and report back.
> >
> > Jim Parish
> >
> >
> >>
> >> How about from "yea, adv.", "3. Used to introduce a statement,
> >> phrase, or word, stronger or more emphatic than that immediately
> >> preceding: = 'indeed'; 'and more': = yes adv. 4"?  In the example of
> >> "yay long", an adverb preceding an adjective and intensifying it?
> >>
> >> Joel
> >>
> >> At 9/28/2013 08:19 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >>> I too instinctively spell it "yea."
> >>>
> >>> So what?
> >>>
> >>> If it's from OE "yea," why did it take a thousand years to appear in
> print?
> >>>
> >>> JL
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> On Sat, Sep 28, 2013 at 7:23 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu
> >wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >>>> -----------------------
> >>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >>>> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> >>>> Subject:      Re: "Yay long"
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------
> >>>> On Sep 28, 2013, at 7:09 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>> Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/yea) traces this back to
> OE,
> >>>> then Proto-Germanic and PIE, undifferentiated from "yea" meaning yes.
> >>>>> The OED speculates that "yay" comes from "yea."
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Benjamin Barrett
> >>>>> Seattle, WA
> >>>> Now that you mention it, I've always spelled the adverb (or
> visualized it
> >>>> spelled) "yea", not "yay".  Although I suppose if it's a very big
> fish it
> >>>> could be both.
> >>>>
> >>>> LH
> >>>>> Learn Ainu! https://sites.google.com/site/aynuitak1/videos
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On Sep 28, 2013, at 2:37 PM, Jonathan Lighter <
> wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> >>>> wrote:
> >>>>>> Bugs Bunny used it. He's neither black nor human. I believe the
> phrase
> >>>> was
> >>>>>> "Oh, about yay by yay," with appropriate gestures.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> I don't know the the title or the date of the cartoon, but it was
> >>>> probably
> >>>>>> in the early '50s.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> To judge from GB and NewspaperArchive.com, it seems to be very rare
> in
> >>>>>> print.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> JL
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> On Sat, Sep 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM, Laurence Horn <
> laurence.horn at yale.edu
> >>>>> wrot=
> >>>>>> e:
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >>>>>>> -----------------------
> >>>>>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >>>>>>> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> >>>>>>> Subject:      Re: "Yay long"
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------=
> >>>>>> ------
> >>>>>>> On Sep 28, 2013, at 12:57 PM, W Brewer wrote:
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> My Chapman's 1986 calls it "A sort of demonstrative adverb used
> with
> >>>>>>>> adjectives of size, height, extent, etc. and often accompanied by
> a
> >>>> han=
> >>>>>> d
> >>>>>>>> gesture indicating size". 1950s & esp black. "To this extent;
> this;
> >>>> so"=
> >>>>>> .
> >>>>>>>> Spells it <yea> (YAY).
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> In the old days, Charles Fillmore used to point out that "yay" is
> the
> >>>> one
> >>>>>>> word that can't be sensibly uttered over the phone. (Other
> >>>> demonstratives
> >>>>>>> have anaphoric uses, but "yay" doesn't, in contexts like "The fish
> I
> >>>> caug=
> >>>>>> ht
> >>>>>>> was {this/that/yay} big.  And you could even say "The agreement is
> this
> >>>>>>> close to being signed" without prior mention of what "this" is,
> but not
> >>>>>>> "The agreement is yay close to being signed" without my being able
> to
> >>>> see
> >>>>>>> you holding your fingers apart=E5=8E=83ay much.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Of course that was before iChat, Skype, and other picture phone
> >>>>>>> conversations.
> >>>>>
>

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