Yeah, Seattle

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Mon Nov 22 18:06:07 UTC 1999

I suspect it's a matter of pronunciation, since it sounds as if Crotty is
mocking the same kind of "yeah" we use in Minnesota:  [ja] or 'yah', with
some lengthening, but no ingliding or schwa (roughly [jE at h], or "ye-ugh",
which is what my Ohio-raised son says.  And it's not just a youth thing;
we've always done it.  Our West Coast people can comment on whether or not
they say it similarly.  But Fargo/Minnesota people sound "dorky"???

At 08:58 AM 11/22/99 -0500, you wrote:
>According to Jim "the Mad Monk" Crotty's 1997 book, _How to Talk American_,
>"the most important and tricky piece of Seattle vernacular" is: "yeah."
>He adds: "It's almost _Fargo_-esque but different (not as dorky, almost
>surfer-like) and best understood by example. 'So you got mugged in New York?'
>'Yeah I did.' 'She is a total fox.' 'Yeah she is.'"
>I have two questions: 1. Is this really a distinguishing feature of Seattle
>(youth?) vernacular? and
>2. what exactly is it? A matter of intonation, of pronunciation, of placement
>in discourse, of frequency of use?
>A writer for the Seattle Times, Jean Godden, included this item in a column
>on Crotty's book without further comment, thereby implicitly agreeing with
>it, I suppose, but not helping the explanation.
>Thanks - Allan Metcalf

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