The origins of 'yes' and 'no'
How do you communicate 'yes' and 'no' in your culture?
How do humans communicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’ around the world?
It might seem that ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are simple. We say them hundreds of times every day. However, as well as verbal yes and no, we have vocalised ‘yes’ and ‘no’ (uh huh and uh-uh in English) and gesture ‘yes’ and ‘no’ (nodding and shaking the head in English-speaking cultures).
The aim of my research is to investigate this fundamental and probably very old part of human language, namely why we communicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’ trimodally — with language, vocalisation and gesture.
How do you communicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in your language and culture?
Dr Stephen Howe is a professor at Fukuoka University in Japan. His research on the origins of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ is funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Jess and Dow: The ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ of New England’s Great Migration
I am also researching dialectal words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in England and America. To read more, click here
Do you know or use jess and/or dow? If so, take the survey below.