more dialectal t-shirts
March 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
The enregisterment of NZ English continues. Speaking of which, the other day I used a common expression, one that I associated with hegemonic masculinity in this country, ‘you’re a legend’. I was completely misunderstood. My friend thought I was claiming he didn’t really exist!
The yeah nah phenomenon has been noted in a number of other Englishes, notably Australian, but it seems collocating with bro is strictly a local production. Like most pragmatic particles, its meaning is hard to pin down. It has been suggested to be a hedging device, buying more time for the speaker, a device that shows solidarity with the ideas presented to the listener (yeah) and a signal (no) that more information is about to be provided by the speaker which elaborates or perhaps more likely innovates on the previous turn’s message.
Is that what it really does? Yeah nah, dunno.