Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 11:36:32 -0500

From: Mark Mandel Mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]DRAGONSYS.COM

Subject: Wow



I've been asked about a possible connection between the interjection

"Wow!" and the Wolof affirmative answer (i.e., 'yes'). Merriam-Webster

3rd Int'l gives no etym. for "wow", simply labeling it "interj." as if that

were sufficient.



The (AmE-speaking) person who spoke to me is quite impressed with not

only the phonology of Wolof wa:w (my transcription from this person's

pronunciation), but also the intonation they have commonly observed on

it, which sounds to them very much like American "wow!" Noting further

that Senegal and Gambia were a major source of slaves, they

speculated that some of these kidnappees could have introduced Wolof

wa:w to North America, where it became "wow!".



Any comments?



Mark A. Mandel : mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]dragonsys.com

Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200

320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA : http://www.dragonsys.com/