Do you use or remember dow or jess/jearse, words for “no” and “yes”? If so, I would like to hear from you.
I am researching the words for “no” and “yes” in New England and other parts of the U.S. and Canada settled by people from New England. Colonists from the East of England, where I grew up, may have brought dow and jess/jearse to New England in the seventeenth century. Four hundred years later, these special words for “no” and “yes” still survive in England and America today.
The aim of my research is to find out how widespread dow and jearse are in England and the U.S., how people use them, and how they came to America.
It’s possible that local pronunciations vary. In the East of England for “dow,” some areas have dow (rhyming with cow), some have doo (rhyming with zoo), and others have doe (as in female deer). Some areas even have toe. “Jearse” might be pronounced jess or djess in some areas.