Word Wonders: Canadian English’s confusing eh Part 1

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Manage episode 289567448 series 2530089
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Two Canadians meet. Bob: “How’s it going, eh?” Doug: “I got married last week and then won a million dollars in the lottery, so not too bad, eh! How’s it going with you?” “How’s it going, eh?” is the Canadian version of “How are you?” or the more formal “How do you do?” As for “eh” — pronounced like the letter A — well, that’s what makes it Canadian, eh. “Eh” is what linguists call a tag — a word or a phrase added to a statement that can change its meaning or function. For example, add a negative tag to a positive statement to turn it into a tag question: “This pizza is delicious, isn’t it?” The same trick can be used with negative statements and positive tags: “You don’t like pineapple on pizza, do you?” Other English-speaking cultures don’t seem to use “eh” much, but it’s a signature of Canadian English, like talking about winter weather or the local hockey team. “Eh” invites people into a discussion or to offer an opinion. It is both polite and inclusive. Adding “eh” makes the speaker seem less sure of what they are saying and makes the statement less forceful, as if the speaker wants you to agree with them. It’s less strong, more neutral, more understated. (Kevin Wood) To be continued… This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

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