yonder - English or Irish?

Josh Macfelder josh.a.macfelder at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 18 15:29:15 UTC 2008

Hello everyone!

I don't know if this has already been discussed, but here's the story:

I really don't know how many people actually still use the word "yonder"
with the meaning of "there, over there" (also adjective) all over the US,
but coming from the part of Texas where this word is quite common, I'm one
of those who do. Anyway, I was listening to an Irish music CD this morning,
and it's got this song called "Siul a riun," an Irish ballad. In this song,
the girl sings, "I wish I were on _yonder_ hill." This song might refer to
the Napoleonic wars in Europe, so I would place it in the early 19th century
(I don't know of any other wars between Great Britain and France that took
place in Europe, thus the placing, though I might be wrong). My Merriam
Webster's says the adjective "yonder" dates back to the 14th century, but it
says zippo about the origin.
So the question is, is this word an anglicism or a gaelicism?
Thanks for your thoughts.


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

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