[Ads-l] "Yay long"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 3 15:26:09 EDT 2017


In 1946 the phrase "boots yea big" appeared in a New Mexico newspaper.

Date: January 16, 1946
Newspaper: Clovis News-Journal
Newspaper Location: Clovis, New Mexico
Article: Up and Down the Street
Quote Page 2
Database: Newspapers.com

https://www.newspapers.com/image/2108031/?terms=%22yea%2Bbig%22

[Begin excerpt]
Andy Sutter is another one who really dressed for the weather,
yesterday. Andy was flopping around in boots yea big!
[End excerpt]

Garson


On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 3:00 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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


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