[Ads-l] "Yay long"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 3 15:00:46 EDT 2017


Excellent cites, Ben. Following your lead, here is an instance of "yea
high" in 1948.

Date: February 12, 1948
Newspaper: Arizona Republic
Newspaper Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Advertisement: As I See It: Clark Smith, Arizona's Largest Car Dealer
Quote Page 2
Database: Newspapers.com

https://www.newspapers.com/image/116947231/?terms=%22yea%2Bhigh%22

[Begin excerpt - please double-check]
You See the Darndest Things:
The delivery boy for a local print shop goes tooling about town on a
motor scooter which carries a life size replica of a United States
corner mail box as its parcel bin. Even though the box is stenciled in
letters yea high with the name of the concern, the box IS painted
green, which leads me to conjecture how many wool-gathering citizens
have attempted to post a letter in the bin as the scooter stands
parked at the curb while the delivery boy is about the business of
delivering.
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 2:16 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> From a bit later in 1950, this article quotes a lecture by Randall V. Mills
> (misidentified as Randall C. Mills), who was an English professor at
> University of Oregon. He was also active in the American Dialect Society
> and served as associate editor for Western Folklore.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randall_V._Mills
>
> Eugene (Oregon) Guard, July 28, 1950, p. 16
> Some of the Oregon terms have the origins deep in the history of the
> British Isles, he said, using the expression "yea big" or "yea high" as an
> example. "Yea" in this sense is regarded as antiquated or obsolete by the
> learned men who write dictionaries, he said.
> https://www.newspapers.com/image/109232960/
>
>
> On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 1:59 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> 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.
>>>
>>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list