January 17, 2008

We called each other Yo

Following up on our discussion of Stotko & Troyer on yo in Baltimore ("Yo", 1/7/2008; "OK, you wireistas, listen up", 1/14/2008), Scott Hildebrandt wrote to point out that back in 1951, in On The Road, Jack Kerouac used yo as something like an anaphor. Then again, maybe it's more like an epithet or nickname. Or an interjection playfully misinterpreted as a nickname. Here's the context:

Tim Gray shot his hand up in the air and said, "So you're leaving, Yo." We called each other Yo. "Yep," I said. The next few days I wandered around Denver.

Here's a larger context, courtesy of the Google Books presentation:

They might have called each other Yo, but that's the only place in the book where Kerouac records them doing it.

Posted by Mark Liberman at January 17, 2008 09:41 PM