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tashirosgt
2012-Aug-06, 05:26 PM
It's a great disappointment to me that the spelling of the familiar expression "uh-oh" is such a failure at conveying the sound of that expression. The "uh" doesn't convey the catch in the throat that should be present - at least as I have always heard it. Of course, there are many words that are not pronounced as they are spelt, and we must quietly accept this, but given that there is a certain freedom of choice in spelling mere sounds, isn' there some better spelling that "uh-oh"?

I wonder if non-U.S.-English speakers must learn the U.S.meaning of "uh-oh" or is "uh-oh" some sort of universally understood expression in many cultures?
If not, what are some foreign equivalents?

I've seen the expression "Oh-oh" in fiction. Is that supposed to be the same sound as "uh-oh".

Strange
2012-Aug-06, 05:33 PM
It's a great disappointment to me that the spelling of the familiar expression "uh-oh" is such a failure at conveying the sound of that expression. The "uh" doesn't convey the catch in the throat that should be present

That would be a velar stop, I believe. We don't have a letter for that. It may be close to the Q in Quran.

R.A.F.
2012-Aug-06, 05:36 PM
I just spell it "oops".

Gillianren
2012-Aug-06, 05:50 PM
I actually say "uh-oh." This may be because I've been reading almost as long as I've been talking.

Cougar
2012-Aug-06, 06:24 PM
It's a great disappointment to me that the spelling of the familiar expression "uh-oh" is such a failure at conveying the sound of that expression.

I'm not sure what you're talking about. I think "uh-oh" sounds just like it is spelled, just like "uh-huh" (yes) and "huh-uh" (no). These all used to be in the style guide I worked from (closed-captioning). I don't get why court reporters always admonish against these, since they seem perfectly clear to me....

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-06, 10:06 PM
You could always add an apostrophe to make it seem like an abrupt pause due to a contraction and a missing letter. This seems to be used a lot of science fiction alien names, like the Goa'uld (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goa'uld), depending on how you intentionally choose to pronounce it.

Uh oh, or uh-oh becomes uh' oh.

And I think Oh oh should mean something like "Oh oh, I know the answer!", not to be confused with the different sounding but similar exclamation of "Ooo-ooo, pick me!"

Jens
2012-Aug-07, 12:40 AM
It's a great disappointment to me that the spelling of the familiar expression "uh-oh" is such a failure at conveying the sound of that expression. The "uh" doesn't convey the catch in the throat that should be present - at least as I have always heard it.

That's a good catch. Actually, it's not a velar stop but a glottal stop, and we tend not to notice it but we all use it in English. We don't write it. You can hear the sound in some British pronunciations, where people use it for the "tt" sound in "bitter," for example.



I wonder if non-U.S.-English speakers must learn the U.S.meaning of "uh-oh" or is "uh-oh" some sort of universally understood expression in many cultures?
If not, what are some foreign equivalents?

I don't think it's universally understood, except that it's usually said in contexts where it's clear what the person is trying to say. I don't know if exact equivalents necessarily exist in other languages. In Japanese, I think there are a variety of ways to express that concept. You can say "yabai!" which literally means "dangerous," or "dou shiyou," which means "what should we do?" or maybe "iyaaaa," meaning "I don't like."

Nick Theodorakis
2012-Aug-07, 01:13 AM
"Uh-oh" was my son's first word.

Nick

novaderrik
2012-Aug-07, 06:59 AM
i use other words to say the same thing... but i can't put them here..

Strange
2012-Aug-07, 07:36 AM
Actually, it's not a velar stop but a glottal stop,

Yes, I was wrong, it's a glo'al stop.

Jens
2012-Aug-07, 09:17 AM
Yes, I was wrong, it's a glo'al stop.

:clap:

LookingSkyward
2012-Aug-07, 09:32 AM
I almost never say "Uh oh" although "AAAAAAAA" is pretty common for me :>. Once upon a time, I was working on a dentists computer and said 'Oops"... He let me know that in his dental training, they's trained them to say "There!" instead of "Oops!" - whish I didn't know that, actually :>

publiusr
2012-Aug-10, 10:38 PM
When Falwell was attacking Tinky Winky--others attacked the teletubbie on saying Eh-oh!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletubbies

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-11, 12:08 AM
Yes, I was wrong, it's a glo'al stop.

:D

I can't recall reading it as anything but "uh-oh." What I don't recall is seeing it in English (the country, not the language) literature before around WWI or II. Might it have been an American thing that didn't make it back across the pond until we began fighting together against our common enemies?

grapes
2012-Aug-11, 12:58 AM
That's a good catch. Actually, it's not a velar stop but a glottal stop, and we tend not to notice it but we all use it in English. We don't write it. Weirdly enough, "uh-oh" is the very example used at the wiki page for glottal stop, and it goes on to say that the stop is represented by the hyphen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glottal_stop

The article goes on to concede that it is not a written phoneme in English.

That's not unusual though--there are many phonemic features that are not written. Actually, this comes close to being a "tone or stress" issue, borderline, I'd say. :)

Disinfo Agent
2012-Aug-18, 02:43 PM
I wonder if non-U.S.-English speakers must learn the U.S.meaning of "uh-oh" or is "uh-oh" some sort of universally understood expression in many cultures?
If not, what are some foreign equivalents?As far as I know "uh-oh" is a characteristically English interjection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interjection), although nowadays it's widely recognised elsewhere due to the international diffusion of English. Interjections often include sounds that are nonstandard/unusual in the rest of the language, as happens with the glottal stop in this case.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-18, 06:11 PM
As far as I know "uh-oh" is a characteristically English interjection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interjection), although nowadays it's widely recognised elsewhere due to the international diffusion of English. Interjections often include sounds that are nonstandard/unusual in the rest of the language, as happens with the glottal stop in this case.

But don't other languages have stops between vowels? IIRC, French actually inserts letters or changes the pronunciation of formerly silent consonants to provide fluidity.

Disinfo Agent
2012-Aug-19, 07:45 PM
I'm not sure this is what you're asking, but a glottal stop is not just a pause in speech (and a hiatus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiatus_(linguistics)) between two vowels is not the same as a glottal stop). It's a consonant with specific features. On the other hand it is true that in languages that do not recognise the glottal stop as a distinct sound (a phoneme), such as English and French, a pause before a vowel may include an optional glottal stop.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-20, 12:11 AM
This is why I prefer to go with "Ruh-roh!"

swampyankee
2012-Aug-20, 12:18 AM
Next question is how do you spell "ay-yuh," which doesn't seem to be used south of Maine.

KaiYeves
2012-Aug-20, 12:30 AM
Next question is how do you spell "ay-yuh," which doesn't seem to be used south of Maine.
Similar to "a-yup"?

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-20, 12:36 AM
Next question is how do you spell "ay-yuh," which doesn't seem to be used south of Maine.

I don't recall having ever heard it. Is it similar to a Chinese exclamation?

KaiYeves
2012-Aug-20, 01:06 AM
I don't recall having ever heard it. Is it similar to a Chinese exclamation?
I learned that expression from Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures. Ai-ya (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcmpjIfb0OQ&feature=player_detailpage#t=396s)!

(Link is to video.)

swampyankee
2012-Aug-20, 01:15 AM
I don't recall having ever heard it. Is it similar to a Chinese exclamation?

Pronounced "ay" rhymes with "lay" and "yuh" rhymes with "huh?"
.

Gillianren
2012-Aug-20, 03:36 PM
This is why I prefer to go with "Ruh-roh!"

Really? Because I loathe that.


Next question is how do you spell "ay-yuh," which doesn't seem to be used south of Maine.

Stephen King spells it "ayuh."

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-20, 06:24 PM
Really? Because I loathe that.It's a guy thing.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-20, 10:24 PM
It's a guy thing.
Which is an excuse I happen to loathe, especially since I count myself as a guy and 99% of the time it's used as an excuse for behavior which shows a way of thinking I am utterly unable to comprehend.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-20, 11:07 PM
Which is an excuse I happen to loathe, especially since I count myself as a guy and 99% of the time it's used as an excuse for behavior which shows a way of thinking I am utterly unable to comprehend.
So? Are you saying it's not a guy thing?

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-21, 07:25 AM
So? Are you saying it's not a guy thing?
I'm saying "It's a guy thing" is most often used to excuse a "moron thing", which I dislike because it paints me, by implication, as a moron.
Not that I'm saying this applies in this specific case.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-21, 02:16 PM
So? Are you saying it's not a guy thing?
It may be predominantly said by guys, but guys don't predominantly say it. So; no, it's not a guy thing.

This particular one is more of a "fan" thing. Like saying "pickineck basket".

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 05:13 PM
I'm saying "It's a guy thing" is most often used to excuse a "moron thing", which I dislike because it paints me, by implication, as a moron.
Not that I'm saying this applies in this specific case.You're a Guy? I didn't even think you were an American.


It may be predominantly said by guys, but guys don't predominantly say it. So; no, it's not a guy thing.

This particular one is more of a "fan" thing. Like saying "pickineck basket".How frequently do you think it should be said by guys before it can become a guy thing? Also, it's easily conflated with Tim Allen's man grunts.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-21, 05:47 PM
How frequently do you think it should be said by guys before it can become a guy thing? Also, it's easily conflated with Tim Allen's man grunts.
It's one of those gray area things. Certainly, the "grunt" thing is more of a guy thing because it's meant as a "macho" type of comments. And now that I heard myself say that, maybe that's where I draw the line. A "guy" thing is a thing for a guy to reinforce he's a guy.

Ruh-roh is a cartoon dog thing. Being that I rarely hear it to begin with, I can only recall that I don't think I've seen a distinct frequency difference between the sexes.

Perikles
2012-Aug-21, 05:51 PM
It's one of those gray area things. I've just learned something. I was puzzling about what this has to do with horses.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 05:57 PM
It's one of those gray area things. Certainly, the "grunt" thing is more of a guy thing because it's meant as a "macho" type of comments. And now that I heard myself say that, maybe that's where I draw the line. A "guy" thing is a thing for a guy to reinforce he's a guy.

Ruh-roh is a cartoon dog thing. Being that I rarely hear it to begin with, I can only recall that I don't think I've seen a distinct frequency difference between the sexes.Maybe it's an age thing.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-21, 06:06 PM
Maybe it's an age thing.
Could be. I remember when people thought being a Trekkie was a guy thing.