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Re: USAGE: Hither, thither and yon (was Re: Weekly Vocab 26)

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Sunday, October 19, 2003, 21:04
On Sun, Oct 19, 2003 at 01:06:44PM -0700, Adam Walker wrote:
> It's used in Texas,
and in Georgia and West Virginia
> but mainly by older rural floks or > to give the effect of being old or rural.
> I guess > it's one of many colorful old phrases that's passing > out of currency.
Outside of this set phrase, the three terms "hither", "thither", and "yon" seem to be all but gone in regular English, relegated to attempts to sound Elizabethan or some such. On the other hand, the term "yonder", related to "yon", is still used in rural areas of the US. The word "yonder" is (usually) an adverb meaning "further away than there"; the three-level distinction among "here", "there", and "yonder" is IMHO a useful one that it's a shame to lose. "Yon" is to "yonder" as "that" is to "there", although "yonder" may also be used as an adjective, as famously done by Shakespeare. I *think* "yonder" derives from "yon" + "there". The original distinction may have been the more precise one found in other languages: "here" = "by me", "there" = "by you", "yonder" = "away from both of us". But I'm not sure about the history of these terms. -Mark