I lived in Australia for 13 years and many times when speaking to local Aussie people, I often hear they use "ei" or "ey" (I do not know how to write that word, and that is why I am asking you) like "It's cool ey" "She is beautiful ey".

See this conversation:

Tom: My boss always criticizes me, blame me for no good reason, bla, bla, etc

Jack: He is bad ey

There are not many Australian women saying "ey" like that. But it seems that more men especially young Aussie people saying "ey" like that.

I am not sure if it is popular in UK or in USA, but is quite popular in Australia.

How to use the sound "ei" or "ey" in English conversation, which is quite popular in Australia?

Can you give me a video link demonstrating how to use it?

  • 1
    Is that like the Canadian eh?
    – Kevin
    Aug 18 '15 at 3:31
  • I'm not recognising this, and I live in Melbourne. Perhaps a few more examples from your experience would help?
    – user867
    Aug 18 '15 at 3:34
  • So , you mean Eh is a form of question tag?
    – Tom
    Aug 18 '15 at 3:35
  • @Kevin I wish people would stop saying that eh is Canadian. I'm from Wisconsin and it's perfectly normal there, doncha know.
    – tchrist
    Aug 18 '15 at 3:36
  • I think Kevin should say "That is like the Canadian, Ey?" or "That is like the Canadian, isn't it?"
    – Tom
    Aug 18 '15 at 3:38

It's just 'eh?', meaning "isn't it?'

Macquarie Dictionary has an entry on it.

It's most common in Queensland, particularly Northern Queensland, but gets used elsewhere in Australia. It also gets used a bit by New Zealanders, a few of which have come to Australian shores.

  • can you give me a video link demonstrate that?
    – Tom
    Aug 18 '15 at 4:27
  • So "Eh" is only used as "isn't it" or can it be used for all question tags like "aren't they" or "aren't you"? Can I say "you are beautiful, Eh"? "They are bad, Eh"?
    – Tom
    Aug 18 '15 at 4:31
  • Another word used like this is: right? Which is short for: am i right? It is meant to soften a declaritive statement by inviting you to agree. Used habitually it just adds noise, or a bit of flavor, depending on how you feel. Aug 18 '15 at 4:47

The Australian loconic drawl, a strict economy of words and enunciation, at work. In fact the original example, "It's cool,eh" would more likely be spoken, "Cool, eh". The trailing 'eh' is almost always interrogative in Australian usage, but it is usually pitched as an invitation to acknowledge or agree with the statement, rather than as an enquiry. So the sense of "Cool, eh" is "It's cool, is it not?", rather than "Is it cool?". The usual response would be a slow nod, a "Yerrh".

The "eh" is the original English 'hey' from the Middle English "hei" in the interrogative sense. The OED's first written reference is dated c. 1225.

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