yea/ yeah

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu May 3 20:44:41 UTC 2007

I've noticed some native English speakers who sort of say / ja /, especially from the Midwest and Northeast - I think.

  Less rounded than German "ja."


sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: sagehen
Subject: Re: yea/ yeah

>Really a jumble.
> I recall a 1917-18 article mentioning - no, recommending - that pupils
>in American grammar schools be restrained from saying "yeah" (already
>under taboo as "slovenly") on the interesting ground that it sounded too
> Yeah-voll, mine hair !
> JL
Interesting! Before I read this post, but while catching up on this thread
I stopped to think for a minute about my own "yeah" & realized (rather to
my surprise) that my "yeah" tends strongly toward the German "Ja!" in some
of its functions.
I also realized that my pronunciation varies a lot depending on how I'm
using it. I don't just mean register, which, of course, entails a lot of
variability in pronunciation. I wonder if others find the same is true for
[I am almost entirely of British Isles extraction going back to before the
American Revolution & no one in my family speaks German except as a
language student.]
That strong antipathy toward anything German was a lot like the "freedom
fries" of embarassingly recent memory. Lots of things got targeted as too
Teutonic during WWI & many underwent name changes or worse.

W stands for >:< War ____Waste___Wiretaps____Witchhunts >:<

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