[Ads-l] No = 'yes; truly'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 27 18:41:53 UTC 2017

Unbelievers!  Chew on this:

WOLF BLITZER: So Rosa, are officials treating these as credible threats,
and have they beefed up security around her?

ROSA FLORES: [Having nodded head "yes" slightly and slowly a few times to
show she's listening, shakes head once emphatically "no."] No, they *are*
taking these threats very seriously, Wolf.

CNN, 1:48 p.m. ET today. (My wife heard it first and urged me to rewind.)

Also, "Yes! We have no bananas!" is funny even (or especially) to people
who don't know the song or the lyrical "explanation."

What is the rule that says that "Yes!" is idiomatically impossible (and
therefore hilarious) here?


On Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 9:42 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> > On Oct 26, 2017, at 9:12 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >
> > "Isn't it?" prompts a positive response. She gave a positive response.
> > Which requires "yes," not "no."
> >
> > While I see your point about "No, it's not *kind* of embarrassing, it
> *is*
> > embarrassing," I certainly did not (and do not) interpret the utterance
> > this way. The intonation pattern did not sound right.  "Is" was not
> > sufficiently stressed to convey that idea (i.e., "No! it IS
> > embarrassing!"). I'm familiar with the patterns you mention, but this did
> > not seem to belong.
> >
> > The stress pattern was precisely that of ordinary, "Yes, it is
> > embarrassing."  A simple statement rather than a (jocular) contradiction.
> >
> > And I'm still waiting for the explanation of "Yes! We have no bananas!"
> >
> > JL
> Given the full context of the song, depicting the Greek fruitmonger who
> “yeses you to death” and whose English is not great to begin with, I’m not
> sure how much of an explanation is needed for his informing the customer
> that yes, we have-a no bananas today.  It probably doesn’t help that the
> Greek word for ‘yes' is “ne”, so maybe that’s what he’s telling the
> would-be bananaphage.
> LH
> There's a fruit store on our street
> It's run by a Greek.
> And he keeps good things to eat
> But you should hear him speak!
> When you ask him anything, he never answers "no".
> He just "yes"es you to death, and as he takes your dough
> He tells you
> "Yes, we have no bananas
> We have-a no bananas today.
> We've string beans, and onions
> Cabbageses, and scallions,
> And all sorts of fruit and say
> We have an old fashioned to-mah-to
> A Long Island po-tah-to
> But yes, we have no bananas.
> We have no bananas today."
> Business got so good for him that he wrote home today,
> "Send me Pete and Nick and Jim; I need help right away."
> When he got them in the store, there was fun, you bet.
> Someone asked for "sparrow grass" and then the whole quartet
> All answered
> "Yes, we have no bananas
> We have-a no bananas today.
> Just try those coconuts
> Those walnuts and doughnuts
> There ain't many nuts like they.
> We'll sell you two kinds of red herring,
> Dark brown, and ball-bearing.
> But yes, we have no bananas
> We have no bananas today."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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