[Ads-l] Antedating of "uh-huh"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 16 13:02:19 EST 2018


This is also true of many Indonesian speakers (on Java at least) -- two
reduplicated central vowels separated by a glottal stop signifies
agreement. Close enough to "uh-uh" to confuse many Anglophones.

On Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 12:38 PM Andy Bach <afbach at gmail.com> wrote:

>
> In the Philippines, er, in Tagalog, "OO" ("oh oh" flat tone) means "yes".
>
> On Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 11:06 AM Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > In Nigeria in the Peace Corps in 1963 we had to learn that "eh heh" (low
> > tone-high tone) meant "no" and " en" (low tone nasalized) meant "yes".
> >
> > On Sat, Nov 10, 2018 at 5:01 PM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com
> >
> > wrote:
> >
> > > And check this out. (OED has "uh-uh" only as 'no.')
> > >
> > > 1888 _Idaho Daily Statesman_ (Boise) (May 1) 1: After four days of
> > > alternate hope and fear we held a hand in hers, looked into her gentle
> > > eyes, and asken [sic], "is there hope?" "Uh, uh," said she, putting the
> > > accent on the last word; and then we fell into her arms insensible.
> > >
> > > One suspects that people have been grunting for 'yes' and 'no' since
> cave
> > > days.  But the grunts only became lexicalized (for writers) in the 19th
> > > century.
>

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