Date: Sat, 22 Nov 1997 11:53:58 -0500 From: Pat Courts Subject: Re: uh&duh Regarding the well/why discussion, it seems to me that the disitnction clearly depends on the intonation used by the speaker. "Do you sleep in the nude?" #1."Why (very surprised that nayone would ask such a question), yes I do." Or, #2."Why(of course, doesn't everyone) yes I do." "Well" works in #1, but it seems to me that it is different in #2--more like an admission than an assertion. At 11:42 AM 11/22/97 -0500, Ron Butters wrote: >Gregory J. Pulliam writes: > >>Who's buried in Grant's Tomb? >>"_____, Grant." > >>I'm 40 and would say "well." But my >>15 year old daughter and my 12 year >>old son and my 7 year old son wouldn't >>say "why" or "well," they'd say (in >>the style of Beavis and/or Butthead) >>"Uh, Lincoln?" > >Good answer, but does "Uh" really mean the same thing as both "Well" and >"Why" in this context? Or is "Uh" only a filler that the pragmatic comment to >be carried by the intonation? > >1. Q: Did you kill Mrs. Wayne? > A1: Uh, yes/no. (= Why, yes/no.) [certainty about some aspect of the >exchange] > A2: Uh, yes/no? ( = Well, yes/no.) [uncertainty about . . .] >2. Q: Who is buried in Grant's tomb? > A1: Uh, Grant. (= Why, Grant.) > A2: Uh, Grant? (= Well, Grant.) >6. Do you sleep in the nude? > A1: Uh, yes/no. (=Why, yes.) > A1: Uh, yes/no? (= Well, yes.) > >The contemporary situation is further complicated by the form "Duh," which >seems to function in initial position like "why"--but is not used (I think) >unless the speaker feels that she will not insult her audience with so >informal an utterance. Also, speakers do say, "Well, Duh!" And *Duh, >yes/no?" are ill-formed. > Cheers, Pat Courts