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Oi // is an interjection used in various varieties of the English language, including Australian English, British English, New Zealand English, and Southern African English, to get the attention of another person or to express surprise or disapproval.
"Oi" was first documented in the 1930s and is particularly associated with working class and Cockney speech. It is effectively a local pronunciation of "hoy" (see H-dropping), an older expression. A study of the Cockney dialect in the 1950s found that whether it was being used to call attention or as a challenge depended on its tone and abruptness. The author noted that the expression is "jaunty and self-assertive" as well as "intensely cockney".
The 1937 musical song The Lambeth Walk from Me and My Girl ends with a cry of "Oi!", expressing defiance and transgression of the working class characters; it was newsworthy when the King and Queen "with the rest of the audience, cocked their thumbs and shouted Oi!" It is used in informal Japanese in the same way as in British English, typically by older men to subordinates; an elongated ōi is used when someone is at a distance. A poll of non-English speakers by the British Council in 2004 found that "oi" was considered the 61st most beautiful word in the English language. A spokesman commented that "Oi is not a word that I would've thought turned up in English manuals all that often." "Oi" was added to the list of acceptable words in US Scrabble in 2006.
- According to Nietzsche, in Greek "oi" was an expression of pain, and someone who was in pain or miserable was said to be "oizuros". In Latin, the similar "oiei" was a cry of pain.
|Look up Appendix:Official English Scrabble 2-letter words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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- "Oi". Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "Oi". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "Oi". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- Sutton, Terri (January 1996). "Blur". Spin 11 (10): 36.
- "Oi". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "Hoy". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- Franklyn, Julian (1953). The Cockney: A Survey of London Life and Language. A. Deutsch. p. 259.
- Samuel, Raphael; Light, Alison (1994). "Doing the Lambeth Walk". Theatres of Memory, Volume 1. Verso. p. 394. ISBN 9780860912095.
- Guy, Stephens (2001). Richards, Jeffrey, ed. The Unknown 1930s: An Alternative History of the British Cinema 1929-39. I.B.Tauris. p. 112. ISBN 1-86064-628-X.
- Hinds, John (Routledge). Japanese: Descriptive Grammar. 1990. p. 207. ISBN 0-415-01033-0.
- Lammers, Wayne P. (2005). Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar & Structure. Stone Bridge Press, Inc. p. 249. ISBN 1-880656-90-6.
- "Mum's the word, says the world". BBC News. 27 November 2004.
- Linn, Virginia (9 April 2006). "Scrabble players adjust as official dictionary adds 'za', 'qi' and 3,300 others". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm (2006). "Later writings (1886-7)". In Ansell-Pearson, Keith; Large, Duncan. The Nietzsche Reader, Volume 10. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 400. ISBN 0-631-22654-0.
- Lindsay, W. M. (2010). The Latin Language: An Historical Account of Latin Sounds, Stems, and Flexions. Cambridge University Press. p. 39. ISBN 1-108-01240-X.