Oba yo! (Oba jo!) The emphatic two word Mennonite response that has resonated throughout the ages. Meaning; Absolutely! Oh, yes! Certainly! Most obviously! The assumed connotation; It should almost go without saying because there can be only one clear answer! This most famous Plautdietsch phrase offers your endorsement to anything at all, that you completely and whole-heartedly agree with and approve of, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that your answer is far more than just a simple “yo”.
We don’t know who first uttered the famous phrase of positive agreement. Was it Menno Simons' wife, when she was asked her if she needed help cleaning the house, mending clothes, cooking, gardening, preparing faspa, sewing, baking, washing, bringing in firewood, clearing the supper table, changing diapers or teaching their children to read and write.?.? Did Menno ask. “fält die halp”? Mrs Simon’s response must surely have been “oba yo!” in a most astonishing and welcoming way!
Are we related? Oba yo!
Would you like more Roll Kuchen? Oba yo!
Do you like forma worscht more than head cheese? Oba yo!
Did you want to come over for faspa? Oba yo!
Would you like some free knack zoat? Oba yo!
Should I leave my barn boots outside? Oba yo!
Sidebar: The absolute and completely opposite of oba yo is, oba nay! Meaning; oh no! oh man! no way! Seriously?! Say it's not so! It may have been used by Menno Simon’s in the following situation; Mrs, Simons asked, “do you think you might be able to give me a bit of a hand with things today”? Menno hastily blurts out his response in a shocked and quivering voice, “oba nay”!
In a world where much has changed in the past 500 years since Menno Simons day, one thing still remains; the most positive things in life may always be expressed by the famous two word Plautdietsch phrase, oba yo! So go out there and give someone an oba yo today!
In our next edition of Mennos World, we’ll be discussing oba yein (oba jein) the distant cousin of oba yo.