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3

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_and_no#The_Early_English_four-form_system, 'yes' and 'no' used to be for answering negatively phrased questions. 'Yea' and 'nay' were used for the positive.


0

I know this is two words but a typical answer would be oh yes. This gives emphasis. Also, the tone of voice would be more emphatic.


0

To your question regarding there being so many words for "why" in German: There are actually 5 that I can think of in German, the two others are weswegen and wozu. There are two things to point out: only "warum" is not a compound word. The rest are formed by combining more basic question words with prepositions. English has compound question words as well, ...


1

English how is indeed an irregularity in the row of question words that all with the exception of how have the initial spelling wh, but the pronunciation is either /w/ as in what, where, when or /h/ as in who, how. It seems to be a bit difficult to explain the spelling and pronunciation of how as etymonline and the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology ...


32

English has—twice—gone through a phonetic change that has caused some upheaval in these pronouns. The initial consonant Originally, all of them (in Proto-Germanic) started with /ʍ/, that is, an unvoiced /w/. This is still found in some English dialects today; in Ireland and Scotland, for example, most people pronounce ‘wile (away the time)’ as [waɪl], but ...



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