YES and NO

Marcel Erdal erdal at EM.UNI-FRANKFURT.DE
Sun Apr 2 14:25:48 UTC 2006

Here are three different types of source:
Hebrew KEN and Spanish, Italian etc. SI both come from 'thus'.
For 'no' one would expect languages to have euphemisms, like Turkish HAYIR 
'no', an Arabic loan whose original meaning is 'good(ness)'.
The first syllable of Turkish EVET was probably an exclamation like 'huh', 
while the second syllable was an emphatic particle of Iranian origin.
Marcel Erdal

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Frans Plank" <Frans.Plank at UNI-KONSTANZ.DE>
Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2006 2:36 PM
Subject: YES and NO

> for light entertainment in between the colours:
> Is anybody out there aware of wide-range comparative etymological work on
> words (well, sentences) meaning YES and NO which shows that these items
> are, or were, morphologically complex?
> This question has come up in recent discussion (most recently at the
> Leipzig Rara event) of a paper by Johan van der Auwera (et al) on
> person-number inflection (or clitics) being extended to YES/NO, as in 
> Dutch
> JAA-N-SE yes-AGR-they 'yes, they do'.
> French OUI 'yes' was complex, supposedly deriving from HOC ILLE.
> English YES is another one, deriving from YEA SIE 'yes, so it be'.
> Or German NEIN, deriving from NOT ONE.
> What are possible sources?  And is such morphological complexity destined
> to quickly become opaque with such words/sentences?
> Frans Plank 

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