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Summary Details

Query:   Ouch!/ow!/aija!
Author:  Fred Cummins
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Phonology

Summary:   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 '@')

LL Issue: 10.522
Date Posted: 08-Apr-1999
Original Query: Read original query


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