Latin has this word, sic. Or, if we want to be more diacritically accurate, sīc. That shows that the i is long, so it’s pronounced like “seek” and not like “sick.”
You might recognize this word from Latin sayings like “sic semper tyrannis” or “sic transit gloria mundi.” You might recognize it as what you put in parentheses when you want to be pass-agg about someone’s mistakes when you’re quoting them: “Then he texted me, ‘I want to touch you’re (sic) butt.’”
It means, “thus,” which sounds pretty hoity-toity in this modren era, so maybe think of it as meaning “in this way,” or “just like that.” As in, “just like that, to all tyrants, forever,” an allegedly cool thing to say after shooting a President and leaping off a balcony and shattering your leg. “Everyone should do it this way.”
Anyway, Classical Latin somewhat lacked an affirmative particle, though you might see the word ita, a synonym of sic, used in that way. By Medieval Times, however, sic was holding down this role. Which is to say, it came to mean yes.
Ego: Num edisti totam pitam?
Tu, pudendus: Sic.
Me: Did you eat all the pizza?
You, shameful: That’s the way it is./Yes.
This was pretty well established by the time Latin evolved into its various bastard children, the Romance languages, and you can see this by the words for yes in these languages.
In Spanish, Italian, Asturian, Catalan, Corsican, Galician, Friulian, and others, you say si for yes. In Portugese, you say sim. In French, you say si to mean yes when you’re contradicting a negative assertion (”You don’t like donkey sausage like all of us, the inhabitants of France, eat all the time?” “Yes, I do!”). In Romanian, you say da, but that’s because they’re on some Slavic shit. P.S. there are possibly more Romance languages than you’re aware of.
There was still influence in some areas by the conquered Gaulish tribes on the language of their conquerors. We don’t really have anything of Gaulish language left, but we can reverse engineer some things from their descendants. You see, the Celts that we think of now as the people of the British Isles were Gaulish, originally (in the sense that anyone’s originally from anywhere, I guess) from central and western Europe. So we can look at, for example, Old Irish, where they said tó to mean yes, or Welsh, where they say do to mean yes or indeed, and we can see that they derive from the Proto-Indo-European (the big mother language at whose teat very many languages both modern and ancient did suckle) word *tod, meaning “this” or “that.” (The asterisk indicates that this is a reconstructed word and we don’t know exactly what it would have been but we have a pretty damn good idea.)
So if you were fucking Ambiorix or whoever and Quintus Titurius Sabinus was like, “Yo, did you eat all the pizza?” you would do that Drake smile and point thing under your big beefy Gaulish mustache and say, “This.” Then you would have him surrounded and killed.
Apparently Latin(ish) speakers in the area thought this was a very dope way of expressing themselves. “Why should I say ‘in that way’ like those idiots in Italy and Spain when I could say ‘this’ like all these cool mustache boys in Gaul?” So they started copying the expression, but in their own language. (That’s called a calque, by the way. When you borrow an expression from another language but translate it into your own. If you care about that kind of shit.)
The Latin word for “this” is “hoc,” so a bunch of people started saying “hoc” to mean yes. In the southern parts of what was once Gaul, “hoc” makes the relatively minor adjustment to òc, while in the more northerly areas they think, “Hmm, just saying ‘this’ isn’t cool enough. What if we said ‘this that’ to mean ‘yes.’” (This is not exactly what happened but it is basically what happened, please just fucking roll with it, this shit is long enough already.)
So they combined hoc with ille, which means “that” (but also comes to just mean “he”: compare Spanish el, Italian il, French le, and so on) to make o-il, which becomes oïl. This difference between the north and south (i.e. saying oc or oil) comes to be so emblematic of the differences between the two languages/dialects that the languages from the north are called langues d’oil and the ones from the south are called langues d’oc. In fact, the latter language is now officially called “Occitan,” which is a made-up word (to a slightly greater degree than that to which all words are made-up words) that basically means “Oc-ish.” They speak Occitan in southern France and Catalonia and Monaco and some other places.
The oil languages include a pretty beefy number of languages and dialects with some pretty amazing names like Walloon, and also one with a much more basic name: French. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, n'est-ce pas?
Yeah, eventually Francophones drop the -l from oil and start saying it as oui. If you’ve ever wondered why French yes is different from other Romance yeses, well, now you know.
I guess what I’m getting at is that when you reblog a post you like and tag it with “this,” or affirm a thing a friend said by nodding and saying “Yeah, that”: you’re not new