LINGUIST List 10.522

Thu Apr 8 1999

Sum: Ouch!

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>


  1. Fred Cummins, Ouch!/ow!/aija!

Message 1: Ouch!/ow!/aija!

Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 11:01:16 +0200
From: Fred Cummins <>
Subject: Ouch!/ow!/aija!

I received many responses to my recent query about the form of
ouch!/ow!/aija! etc used by children across cultures. I have arranged
all responses into a web page which will be updated if I gather any
further information (feel free to mail me). The URL is:

There is indeed a large degree of variability in the form used. The
following forms were noted (transcriptions are largely as in the original):

English (California, Ohio, Australia, Ireland): /aU(w)/, /aUtS/

English (Australia): [Ua] (rare), curses (common)

Icelandic: [aIJI], [aIJ], [au]

Swedish: [aj], [a:j], [a:j:]

Polish: AuWa, OiE

Chukchi (Paleosiberian, NE Russia): ['ika], ['ikaka]

Russian: ['oj], ['ojojoj]

Spanish (European, N. and S. America): [ai], /'ai.ja/

French: [ai]
also France [uf][utS] (when squeezed) 
	Qubec [ajoej] Montreal 
	Qubec [adjoej] Bas St-Laurent
	Acadie [ajoej] 

Portugese: [aji]

Greek: /'ai/, /aj/, /'au/, /'aits/

Persian: /'a:x/, /'a:i/, /va:i/, and /'u:h/ ('for the glottal stop)

Arabic: /?ajj/, /?aX/ 

Japanese: itAi, itEeeh (class based distinction)

Korean: [aja], [ajat] (2nd syllable usually stressed)

Malay/Indonesian: _aduh_ (stress on final syllable)

Thanks to the following who responded with examples:

 Michael Moss 
 Michael Dunn 
 Hak-Sung Han 
 Eric Pawley 
 Dr. Andrew McIntyre 
 M. J. Hardman 
 Ahmad Reza Lotfi 
 Monica Malamud Makowski 
 Elisabet Eir Cortes 
 Dick Hudson 
 Carmen Zamanillo 
 Steven Schaufele 
 Nicole Cooper 
 Geoffrey Sampson 
 Mikael Parkvall 
 David Gil 
 Damon Allen Davison 
 John Mackin 
 R. M. Chandler-Burns 
 Tony Lewis 
 Phoevos Panagiotidis 
 Wendy Burnett 
 Beate Damm 

Apologies if I missed anyone..................


Fred Cummins, IDSIA, Corso Elvezia 36, CH-6900 Lugano, Switzerland
email: fred at (replace ' at ' with '')
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