Do you use or remember jess or dow , words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’? If so, I would like to hear from you.
Colonists from the East of England brought jess and dow to New England in the seventeenth century. Four hundred years later, these special words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ still survive in England and America today.
New England migrants and their descendants spread out from Massachusetts to southern New England, eastern New Jersey and northern New York, later migrating east and north to Maine and Canada, and west to the Pacific. Cities founded by settlers from New England include Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, Seattle and San Francisco.
Is it possible that jess and dow travelled that far? If you know or use jess and dow, I would like to hear from you. Local pronunciations can vary. ‘Jess’ can be pronounced jearse, tjeahse or djess. 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.
The aim of my research is to find out how widespread jess and dow are in England and America, and how people use them.
The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ of New England’s Great Migration