Eh

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Eh (pronounced /ˈeɪ/ or /ˈɛ/ in English) is a spoken interjection in English, Armenian, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan that is similar in meaning to "Excuse me," "Please repeat that" or "huh?" It is also commonly used as a method for inciting an answer, as in "It's nice here, eh?" It is occasionally used to express indifference, in a similar way to "meh". In North America, it is most commonly associated with Canada.

The spelling of this sound in English is very different from the common usage of these letters. The vowel is sounded in one of the continental manners, and the letter h is used to indicate that it is long, as though the origin of the spelling were German.

It is an invariant question tag, unlike the "is it?" and "have you?" tags that have, with the insertion of not, different construction in positive and negative questions.

There is some question about the origin of the term. One theory[citation needed] is that the "eh" sound is similar to the "ey" sound that a native French speaker will stereotypically say when pronouncing the word "Hey". Dropped H's are also common to many British dialects.

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English

Canada

The only usage of eh? that is exclusive to Canada, according to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, is for "ascertaining the comprehension, continued interest, agreement, etc., of the person or persons addressed" as in, "It's four kilometres away, eh, so I have to go by bike" In that case, eh? is used to confirm the attention of the listener and to invite a supportive noise such as "Mm" or "Oh" or "Okay" This usage may be paraphrased as "I'm checking to see that you're [listening/following/in agreement] so I can continue." Grammatically, this usage constitutes an interjection; functionally, it is an implicit request for back-channel communication.

"Eh" can also be added to the end of a declarative sentence to turn it into a question. For example: "The weather is nice." becomes "The weather is nice, eh?" This same phrase could also be taken as "The weather is nice, don't you agree?". In this usage, it is virtually identical to the Japanese "ne?". This usage differs from the French usage of "n'est-ce pas?" ("Isn't that so?") in that it does not use a (technically double or emphatic) negative.

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