“Eh”-Sayers: An Oral History

Besides a love of hockey, there are perhaps 2 chief stereotypes about Canadians: That they say “eh” a lot, and that they are extremely polite. As it turns out, they could be cut from the same cloth. 

In Atlas Obscura’s helpful history of this verbal tic, linguists explain that even when making demands or criticizing—“Forward march, eh?”—eh-sayers seek inclusivity, inviting the listener to participate in the conversation.

In sum: “If I say “you’re an idiot, eh?”, what I’m saying is, you’re an idiot, but you should also think you’re an idiot, and our understanding of you as an idiot finds us on common ground,” writes Dan Nosowitz.

Makes sense, eh?


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