Media and Publications
‘Yes’ and ‘no’ are extraordinary because they have paralinguistic and extralinguistic equivalents. This trimodality — language, vocalisation and gesture — is quite exceptional, making ‘yes’ and ‘no’ potentially significant in understanding the origins of human communication.
Dr Stephen Howe is a professor of English and linguistics at Fukuoka University in Japan but grew up in the East of England. In 2018, he was a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge University. His research on the origins of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ is funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
I am interested in how we communicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’. I have received a three-year grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to research jearse and dow in America and the origins of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in human language. Read about yes and no here. To read about jearse and dow, click here.
My study ‘Emphatic yes and no in Eastern English: jearse and dow’ appears in Southern English Varieties: Then and Now, ed. by Laura Wright, Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter Mouton, published 2018.
One aim of my research is to investigate a fundamental and probably very old part of human language, namely why we communicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’ trimodally — with language, vocalisation and gesture.
The Academic Minute, Yes and No in England and America, 1 November 2019.
Podcast on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio.
Valley News, ‘Jearse’-or-‘dow’ questions: Probing New England’s forgotten linguistic quirks, 18 August 2019.
Newspaper article from New Hampshire and Vermont.
BBC.com, Stephen Howe’s mission from Japan: Is that a ‘jearse’ or a ‘dow’?, 20 August 2015.
BBC Radio Suffolk, Studio guest on the Lesley Dolphin Show, 17 August 2015. Click to listen…
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Interview on Sue Dougan Lunchtime Live, 29 July 2015. Click to listen…
BBC Radio Norfolk, Studio guest on the Nicky Price Breakfast Show, 19 August 2015. Click to listen…
BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Studio guest on Melvyn in the Morning, 21 August 2015. Click to listen…
Cambridge News, ‘Do you speak Ely? If “jearse”, he wants to hear from you…’, January/February 2015.
Fukuoka University News, 人文学部英語学科スティーブン・ハウ准教授が英国のBBCラジオに出演, website in Japanese, 31 August 2015.
Eastern Daily Press, ‘Yes or no…help us shed light on two little words’, column by Peter Trudgill, 7 September 2015.
Publications and presentations
Howe, Stephen (2015) ‘Emphatic yes and no in East Anglian dialect: jearse and dow’, Paper presented at the Second Southern Englishes Workshop, University of Cambridge, England, 23 March 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2015) ‘Are “yes” and “no” universal?’, Paper presented at the Language Variation and Change Research Forum, Fukuoka University, 30 May 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2015) ‘The origin and meaning of “yes” and “no”’, Invited talk, Fukuoka Linguistic Circle, Fukuoka University, Japan, 18 July 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2015) ‘The forms of “yes” and “no” in English: origin and development’, Paper presented at the 5th conference of the Japan Society for Historical Linguistics, Hokkai-Gakuen University, Sapporo, 20 December 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2016) ‘Eastern English in America: ‘dow’ and ‘jearse’ in New England’, Paper presented at the 3rd Southern Englishes Workshop, University College London, England, 19 February 2016.
Howe, Stephen (2017) ‘Aye–aey: An Anglo-Frisian parallel’, Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik 77, Issue 1-2, June, pp. 210–242.
Howe, Stephen (2018) ‘Emphatic yes and no in Eastern English: jearse and dow’, in Southern English Varieties: Then and Now, ed. by Laura Wright, Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter Mouton (= Topics in English Linguistics, vol. 100, ed. by Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Bernd Kortmann), pp. 148–187.
Howe, Stephen (2019) ‘New old words for “yes” and “no” in English’, The Bulletin of the Central Research Institute, Fukuoka University, series A, vol. 19, no. 1, August.
Howe, Stephen (2020) ‘Jearse and dow: Emphatic “yes” and “no” in the East of England and Northeast America’, poster presentation, Annual Conference of the American Dialect Society, New Orleans, 3 January 2020.
Howe, Stephen (2020) ‘Universals of human language’, Fukuoka University Review of Literature and Humanities, vol. LII, no. I (no. 204), June, pp. 1–42.