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Eww, m-hm, phew! How to pronounce common interjections in English

Hmm, a-ha, eww! Huh…chances are that you’ve come across interjections in English before when reading, but you may not know how to pronounce all of them! In this video, I’ll share some of the most common interjections in English.


Podcast intro:

Hello, and welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar, and this is episode number 409. Today we are going to talk about how to pronounce, get this, interjections. Like, m-hm, huh, hmm, tsk, and whoa. You know what I’m talking about? If not, keep listening.

Hey, hey, everyone. Thank you so much, so, so, so much for being here again with me on the podcast. Super thrilled to have you here. And I’m really, really happy to share this episode on my podcast. So I don’t know if you know this, but I also have a YouTube channel. You know that thing where you watch videos and not just listen to audio? So if you don’t know this, just google the word YouTube and you’ll find out. I’m kidding 🙂

But usually on Tuesdays, I share an episode that also goes up on my YouTube channel, so there is the video version of it. And the reason why I say that is because sometimes the video has this additional layer of titles and a script that shows up on the screen. Maybe my hair looks exceptionally good that day, and then it’s better to watch the video. Maybe the lighting is really good.

But today I think it would be really interesting to listen to this as a podcast episode. Especially because I’m going to teach you the pronunciation of interjections, which are basically just sounds that people make. But you also see them written in comic books and books and text messages.

And I know that sometimes it’s not always clear when you see, you know, ‘mmmmm’ or ‘hmmmmm’ or ‘ahm’. Like, what is the difference between all these sounds and what do they signify, what emotion, what attitude? So today we’re going to talk about that.

If you want to see the text written, then you should watch it on YouTube as well. But I think it would be a really good exercise to try to guess the spelling of each sound and interjection that I’m making in this episode, and practice it while trying to guess the spelling. I think it would be a really, really good exercise. And to be like, have I ever seen it written somewhere? And if not, I bet that you would guess the sounds and the interjections that I’ll be teaching you here today. Okay?

So let’s go ahead and listen to today’s super fun and different episode.

Video transcript:

Hey everyone. Today, we’re going to learn how to pronounce interjections, which are all the different sounds that I made at the beginning of this video. Now, it’s funny that I want to teach you how to pronounce interjections, because these are basically sounds, and usually we hear sounds and then we just imitate sounds. But, here’s the rub. For each sound, there is a very common spelling. And a lot of times we see the spellings of these interjections, whether it’s in comics or in books or in texts.

And sometimes we don’t know to associate the sound to the written word. Because each interjection is actually a word that has its own spelling. And again, like sometimes we don’t know exactly what it means or how it’s supposed to sound. So when a character says ‘Uh-huh’, we don’t know if it’s [ʌˈhʌ] or [‘ʌ.ʔʌ]. Which actually means two different things.

Now, these sounds are kind of universal, so I’m not going to so much talk about the meaning of these interjections or sounds. I think it’s going to be pretty intuitive. If not, I will explain. But I want to connect the sound and attitude to the spelling of the word. And just to clarify, interjections are expressions or sounds that we make that are used to convey a feeling or an emotion.

So the first one, and my personal favorite is this: Ugh. The pronunciation is [əx]. So, for me, the [x] sound is really easy to pronounce. For some people, it’s not that easy. So you might hear something like ‘uh’ or ‘uhg’, but usually it’s like Ugh, when you’re frustrated or when something is disgusting. “Ugh! Can’t believe they just kissed”. Or “Ugh! This yogurt is spoiled”. “Ugh, these are old.” Ugh. Okay. You get the point.

The next one is Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Which is used to agree with someone. “Uh-huh, yeah, I’m going there.” Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

All right, the next one is Nuh-uh. Nuh-uh – to disagree with someone. “Oh, you love him.” “Nuh-uh” Or you can also go further back in your pronunciation, more of an [ɑ] sound – [nɑ: a:]. Either one is fine and that’s how it’s pronounced.

This one is ‘huh’. Huh. Right? You can use it for different attitudes. It could be like, “Huh, funny”, or “Huh, interesting!

“Aww, that is so cute”. Aww [ɔː] or [ ɑː].

Aha. When you realize something, that was an Aha moment. “Aha! That’s it”. Aha.

Ewww. “Ewww. I don’t like it so much”. Ewww. “Ewww! I don’t like it”. Ewww. “Ewww. I don’t like wasabi ice cream”.

Alright, this one is easy – Oh. “Oh, so you do like me”. “Oh, okay, so you are coming”. “Oh, fine”. Oh.

And this one is, “Ooh, interesting. Tell me more”. Ooh. So two O’s is Ooh, one O is Oh.

Uh-oh. “Uh-oh, he’s coming with the pitch”. “Uh-oh. I made a mistake”. “Uh-oh. I messed up”. Uh-oh. Uh-oh.

Now, the next two are fun. This one is Wow. “Wow. This should be in a museum”. “Wow. I can’t believe you did it”. Wow. And this one is Whoa. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up, hold up. I don’t think so”. Different pronunciation. Can you hear? It’s not ‘who-a’. I see it a lot in comic books. “Whoa, wait a minute. What are you saying really?”

‘Wow’ – you’re excited about it. You’re impressed. “Wow. This is great”. “Whoa. This is overwhelming. Let me process it”. Whoa. “Whoa, hold on just a minute”. “Whoa. Just a minute”. “Whoa. Wait. Whoa.

Whew. Phew. “Phew. That’s where that horrible odor comes from”. “I’m saved. Whew! That was hard”. “This pronunciation, whew, was hard. Yeah”. Phew/whew – that’s how you pronounce it.

And t ishis Tsk. This is how you pronounce it. It’s kind of like when you disagree with something or you’re unhappy and you’re like being condescending. It’s like, “Tsk… I can’t believe they’re doing it”. And it’s also an impolite way to say no. And you call it a ’tisk’. “Don’t tisk me”. Right?

I remember when I was in third grade, we had to do a role play of a Bible story. And I was supposed to play God, and there was this other girl who was playing Moses. And this girl was asking me a question and ask God, I was supposed to say no. And I went like, ” Tsk”. And my teacher got so angry. She’s like, “What tisk? What, what’s tisk?” And I was like, “What do you want? What is ’tisk’ anyway? I was like, “Tsk”. So that was kind of funny. But that’s how you make this sound. If you see the word Tsk in a comic book or in a book, then know it’s ’tisk’.

This one is Ahem. “Ahem, you remember our friend, Doug?” When you want to interrupt someone, it’s like clearing out your throat – “Ahem. I’m here. Hi”.

And the next one is M-hm. ” Pretty good, right? M-hm”. Just like when you want to agree with someone, it’s like Uh-huh, but with closed mouth. And when you see it without the dash, like Mmm, it’s more of a mmmmm, when something’s tasty. “Mmm. Thank you”. “Mmm. So good”.

And then we have Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. “Let me think about it”. “Hmm, just thinking”.

The next one is Uh. “Uh… Average”. You might be very familiar with this one. When you are trying to fill in the silence or you’re looking for a word. “Uh, that’s it”. A simple UH sound, uh.

This one is Psst. “Let me tell you something. Psst”. When you’re trying to get someone’s attention.

And the last one is Yay. “Yay, we are done with this episode!” Yay! All those amazing interjections. Yay!

All right, that’s it. Thank you so much for interjecting with me. I hope you enjoyed learning the pronunciation of all those interjections that I’m sure you’ve seen in books and text messages and videos. Now you know how to pronounce them. So you can practice with me.

Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day. If you enjoyed this video, please consider sharing and subscribing. And I will see you next week in the next video. Bye.

The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
409. Eww, m-hm, phew! How to pronounce common interjections in English

Are there any interjections you have seen before that I didn’t mention?

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3 Responses

  1. Hey, Hadar.
    Wow, it’s so amazing.
    Thanks for teaching us. I like it so much and I’m always happy to learn it with you.

  2. Hi Hadar How are you i can reed and listing but i can’t speaking When i started speaking i became nerves

  3. Hi Hadar,

    This is a very interesting and funny interjection word pronunciation tutorial. I love it and learn a lot.
    Thank you

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