Armchair Linguist

An amateur linguist drinks strong coffee and makes interesting observations about language from the comfort of his armchair.

Location: United Kingdom

Thursday, July 15, 2004


I was just thinking to myself what an etymological curiosity the spelling of the word yeah is. (Can "etymological" refer to spellings?) I would expect a word such as yeah to have a simpler, more straightforward spelling, being both recent and informal, and therefore not having a long written history.

Two possibilities come to mind: a) the spelling is derived from the old English word yea; b) there is simply no easy alternative (ye? yeh?).

Any ideas?


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31 December 2005 at 11:23  
Blogger Robert L. Mayo said...

I take it from your previous posts that you are English. That may explain why the spelling of 'yeah' seems odd to you. Spoken with an American accent, y-e-a-h is the correct phonetic spelling of the word. In other words, it's spelled that way because when we say it, it sounds that way.

8 May 2010 at 19:54  

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