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Uh Oh!

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Uh Oh!

Postby William » Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:21 am

Anybody know the origin of this utterance? Anybody know
of alternative utterances that mean roughly the same thing?
Anyone know translations of this utterance into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Greek, Latin, Nahuatl etc.?


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Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:32 am

From the Etomological Dictionary on the Alphadictionary site:

"1534, common interjection expressing various emotions, a common I.E. word (cf. O.Fr. ô, oh; L. o, oh; Gk. o; O.C.S., Lith. o; Goth., Du., Ger. o; O.Ir. a; Skt. a), but not in O.E., which translated L. oh with la or eala. Often extended for emphasis, e.g. Oh, baby, stock saying from c.1918; oh, boy (1910); oh, yeah (1924). Reduplicated form oh-oh as an expression of alarm or dismay is attested from 1944. Oh-so "so very" (often sarcastic or ironic) is from 1922. Oh yeah? "really? Is that so?" attested from 1930."
(emphasis added)
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Postby bnjtokyo » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:00 am

I thought about Japanese equivalents to "uh oh" and decided that there are probably several, depending on the situation.

For a minor surprise or disappointment, one might say "a"
(where the "a" is immediately preceeded and followed by a glottal stop)

For a somewhat greater surprise or in a more formal situation, one might say "ara," again preceeded and followed with a glottal stop.

Suppose for example, you were to open your mail box and discover an official looking letter with the return address of the regional tax office. Before you open the letter, you might say "ara, korewa nan da" (uh oh, what's this?)
(It is tax season in Japan, and returns must be filed by March 15.)

I'd better open that letter and get cracking!
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