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Looking for two letter slang/colloquialisms
April 12, 2013 5:31 PM   Subscribe

"Ne" in Japanese can mean many things, same with "eh" in Canada. "Ya" and "Da" appear many places. "OK" is a favorite around the world. "OI" for Punks and for "Oy" for Jews. Can you think of any others?
posted by parallax7d to Society & Culture (40 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Eh.
posted by erst at 5:36 PM on April 12, 2013


Ah.
posted by erst at 5:37 PM on April 12, 2013


Sri Lankan English has this interesting tag, "isn't it":

The use of "isn't it?" and "no?" as general question tags, as in You're going, isn't it? instead of You're going, aren't you?, and He's here, no? (In spoken Sinhala 'ne?' (meaning isn't it?), is used in a similar way)
posted by KokuRyu at 5:38 PM on April 12, 2013


Ha. As in, "Very funny. Not."
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:38 PM on April 12, 2013


Oh?
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:38 PM on April 12, 2013


Yo!
posted by erst at 5:39 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yo
posted by irish01 at 5:39 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:39 PM on April 12, 2013


Ho!
posted by erst at 5:40 PM on April 12, 2013


Ug.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:43 PM on April 12, 2013


Ew. Oh?
posted by zengargoyle at 5:44 PM on April 12, 2013


"La" in Chinese and Malaysian. Here's the best explanation I could find of its many uses.
posted by keep it under cover at 5:47 PM on April 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bo or Be in Balinese. It means "already" as in "I already did that" or "I understand" and is pronounced buh.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:49 PM on April 12, 2013


Nu in Yiddish
posted by gryftir at 5:49 PM on April 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Meh.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 5:51 PM on April 12, 2013


Mu.
posted by yohko at 6:05 PM on April 12, 2013


Ja!
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:07 PM on April 12, 2013


aw
ya
posted by pyro979 at 6:08 PM on April 12, 2013


I end a lot of my sentences with "so...," so...
posted by Sys Rq at 6:20 PM on April 12, 2013


In Quebec French, "là" is used a lot. It can be doubled to make là là which has a subtly different meaning.
posted by zadcat at 6:21 PM on April 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Hoor" in Dutch (sorta) means "Hear?" or "You hear?". You can use it the same way you use "man" in English, except it's proper enough to use with your oma.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:27 PM on April 12, 2013


Dude. Duuuuude. Dude? Dude!
posted by Rock Steady at 6:32 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


"So!" in Japanese is used with an amazing range of intonations, where the intonation carries most of the meaning. Oddly it means basically the same thing as English "so" as in "Is that so?" "Hē" in Japanese also has a huge range of intonations, and again, oddly, it sort of means the same thing as English "heh!" indicating minor surprise and rethinking by the speaker.
posted by kadonoishi at 6:35 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


'Lah' in Singaporean English. Demonstrated.
posted by 100kb at 6:51 PM on April 12, 2013


I end a lot of my sentences with "so...," so...

This is very common in Auroville (an intentional community of around 1500 in India).

"Hoor" in Dutch (sorta) means "Hear?" or "You hear?". You can use it the same way you use "man" in English, except it's proper enough to use with your oma.

Be careful with this one around English speakers, since it sounds the same as "hoar" (as I learned when I had an embarrassing incident with a very proper Christian family).
posted by Emanuel at 6:56 PM on April 12, 2013


I don't know if it's slang, but "ja" in Thai is an affectionate term similar to "dear" in English.

Thais also have something similar to "oy", but used to expressed annoyance or a kind of delighted surprise.
posted by seemoreglass at 7:03 PM on April 12, 2013


Nu? (also Yiddish)
posted by blue_and_bronze at 7:03 PM on April 12, 2013


Colloquial Austrian German makes use of 'eh' as well, and it can mean different things when in different parts of a sentence.
posted by Maarika at 7:14 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Eh" in New Zealand
posted by raena at 7:56 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


'Bo' in Italian can mean whatever, I don't know, too bad.
posted by bq at 8:55 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some regional dialects in England use "innit?", a compressed form of "isn't it?"

"Bloody cold today, innit?"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:01 PM on April 12, 2013


innit is used in exactly the same way in many indigenous communities in Canada, innit?

Also used are things like:

"Sa!" and "Wa!" As in get away, cut it out, leave me alone, stop that...common in Cree and Ojibway communities.

(Also, not two letters but...

Eennnh? With a long rising tone which is a way of softening teasing, as in "Nice new haircut! Eenh!"

There is a joke that goes like this. What's the difference between a white man telling a scary story and a Cree man telling a scary story?

White man tells the story and then says "BOO!"

Cree man tells the story and then says "BOO! Eeeennh!")
posted by salishsea at 12:55 AM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


In South African English 'Jo' (pronounced like the 'yo' in yonder) is used for surprise or indicating surprise to the listener (Jo, you frightened me! Or 'and then he leapt out and yelled boo, Jo!'). Ja-nee (yes-no) is an acknowledgement without always agreeing. ('The boks are playing badly, ne?' 'Ja-nee')

Ja (or jah) is yeah (lit. Afrikaans for yes) and gets used in sentences where you'd use yeah or yes. Nè is often used to say 'is that so’, 'oh really’, 'you know what I mean' at the end of sentences.

Mos is used to indicate that the statement is evident, so the closest English would be duh. It's formal Afrikaans grammar but turns up in SA English. Ek drink mos tee = I drink tea, duh!
posted by halcyonday at 3:27 AM on April 13, 2013


Though it adds a couple of letters, don't forget the New England "Ayuh"
posted by briank at 5:40 AM on April 13, 2013


Che has three letters in Argentine Spanish, but in the Valencian variation it's spelled "xe", so I'm going to sneak it in here. It can mean "man" or "dude" or simply be used as a filler word.
posted by pitrified at 6:48 AM on April 13, 2013


OK!

Not a Spanish speaker but I think ¡Ay! is an interjection in that language.
posted by lakeroon at 8:02 AM on April 13, 2013


Ek in Middle English poetry
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:26 AM on April 13, 2013


Um....nah.
posted by mule98J at 10:18 AM on April 13, 2013


People in England say "ta" for "thanks".
posted by triggerfinger at 6:57 PM on April 13, 2013


Sorry, I meant "eh", not "meh".
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:57 PM on April 20, 2013


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