ROSEMARY ABBOTT | National
The editors of the Oxford English Dictionary have finally thrown in the towel in their long battle to define the uniquely New Zealand phrase “yeah nah.”
Over the years it has made several attempts to define the phrase, but due to ‘yeah nah’ having an array of meanings and interpretations, it has proven too difficult for top literary scholars to crack.
The Oxford University Press, the publishers of the dictionary, released a statement saying “We have tried our very best, but our best attempts have been totally fruitless. We have spent countless hours trying to demystify this colloquialism, but we simply cannot define the phrase ‘yeah nah’.
“It is a mystery that no English language professor here can unravel. We understand that this phrase is a crucial part of New Zealand culture, and we apologise for our failure in defining its true meaning.
“As a result, we have come to the difficult conclusion to abandon our efforts, and to instead move on to other less complex endeavours”.
Our reporters spoke to Kiwis to get their thoughts on the iconic phrase remaining undefinable.
“Well, I’m actually glad they gave up. I mean, I say it all the time and barely know what it means. But I guess I kind of do know what it means at the same time, if ya know what I mean?” explained Brad Wright, 33.
Sarah Croy, 27, shared her thoughts.
“I mean, yeah nah, I guess it’s a phrase that’s unique to us, and it’s pleasing to know that we’re not the only ones who can’t work out what it means.”
When asked to have a go at a definition, she replied with “yeah nah.”
More to come.
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