Oh originated from the mid-16th century expression, O. It was used to address and gain attention of the person or intended group of people spoken to. Using O today, it gives a classic and archaic tone. “O, People of the Golden Cherosonne! Seek truth and enlightenment.”
Similar to words like Uh, Err, Umm, Aha, and Wow, Oh is an English interjection with no grammatical meaning, but in brief, able to express an emotion or sentiment.
Interjection is usually a single word or non-sentence phrase incorporated into a larger sentence clause. “Oh! I didn’t see it that way” is an expression of surprise. “Oh, so that’s how it works” is an expression of understanding, recognition or realisation. It can be an afterthought like “Oh, and do think over.”
“Oh! That hurt” express pain. “Oh, that’s ridiculous” is an annoyed remark. “Oh, when will all these end?” gives a dramatic emphasis. “Oh, wow! That is something I never thought of” is a two-word interjection to express wonder, amazement or awe.
“You should not believe everything! The subsequent “Oh?” sound interrogative with a mild scepticism. “Oh, ye ker?” is colloquial Malay for the same expression. It is still far from “Oh, oh, oh …” space filler sang by singer in which done in the right tune could make the song catchy and a hit.
However, any reactive interjection from rummaging through the assortment of news and views in this intended portal is reassuring. The ultimate satisfaction lies in getting the expressed interjection substantiated by rationality.
One word interjection like “Objection!” could be a figure of speech with myriad of interpretation. “Oh!” alone does not mean anything. But, stretching the expression as “oooh” or “ohhh” gives the meaning a stronger sound.
“Oh, oh …” is not an English interjection but something very much as Malaysian as nasi lemak and fried kuew tiow. Spoken in a decreasing undertone, it is a mild surprise reaction. “Oh, oh … ye ker?” is also a mildly surprise reaction but remained mildly sceptical.
It is the typical reaction of common Malaysians and their moderate temperament. That could be the beginning to a more enlightened disposition. But we are not out change the world. Good enough to make happenings around us more sensible.