“some say òc, others say sì, others say oïl“
– Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321), Italian poet of the Middle Ages
The Italian medieval poet was highlighting three major Romance languages which were well known in Italy, based on each language’s word for “yes”, the òc language (Occitan), the oïl language(French), and the sì language (various Italian and Iberian languages).
THE THREE YESES:
The word òc came from Vulgar Latin hoc (“this”).
The word oïl came from Latin hoc illud (“this [is] it”).
Other Romance languages derive their word for yes from the Latin sic, “thus [it is], [it was done], etc.”, such as Spanish sí,Eastern Lombard sé, Italian sì, or Portuguese sim.
In Modern Catalan, as in modern Spanish, sí is usually used as a response, although the language retains the word oi, akin to òc, which is sometimes used at the end of yes-no questions.
Occitan (pronounced Oksitan) is a Romance language spoken in Southern France, the Occitan Valleys of Italy, Monaco, and in Val d’Aran in Catalonia, Spain, the regions sometimes known informally as Occitania.
Langue d’oc in French, modern Occitan is the closest relative of Catalan. The term Provençal is often used to refer to Occitan while actually Provençal is only one of Occitan dialects mainly spoken in South-Eastern France.
The area where Occitan was historically dominant is home to some 15 million inhabitants. It may be spoken as a first language by as many as 1 million people inFrance, Italy, Spain and Monaco.
Some researchers state that up to seven million people in France understand the language while twelve to fourteen million fully spoke it in 1921.
In 1860, Occitan speakers represented more than 39% of the whole French population (52% for francophones proper); they were still 26 to 36% in the 1920s and less than 7% in 1993.
From the Old English gēse (pronounced with a palatised g), literally meaning so be it!.
From gē + sīe, the imperative subjunctive of to be (be it!). Gē, the Anglian form of the West Saxon gēa (meaning thus), is from the Proto-Germanic ja, with the meaning of yes or truly.
O.E. gea (W.Saxon), ge (Anglian) “so, yes,” an affirmative word in Gmc., cognate with Ger., Dan., Norw., Sw. ja.