Expressing "Ouch!" in Different Languages

How is the act of getting physically hurt expressed in different languages?

Being born and raised in the US, I gre up saying, “Aww!” “OUCH!” or occasionally “Aww, F*CK!”

Since I have a Latino background and spoke Spanish at home, I would hear my parents say “AY AYAY!” pronounced “EYE, YAH, EYE!” or something like that.

Now, living in Japan for some time, the natives here express it as “ITAI!” (EE-TIE) or sometimes “IT-TA!”

I’ve wondered why different countries have varying phrases to a reflex response.

How do you say "OUCH?"

In Mandarin Chinese it is “Ai-yo!”

Back in 1980 I spent a year as a stationary engineer in a large Phoenix hospital. There was no maintenance staff on the midnight shift, so we had to fill in on emergency problems. One night I was called to unplug a drain in one of the delivery rooms. While I was working there was an hispanic woman, in labor, in the next room. I recall becoming aware of the same observation that the OP makes when hearing her repeatedly cry out “Ay, Yi, Yi”.

In Hindi it’s Aiyah! or Aha! Or Ofo!

In Punjabi it’s usually some elaborate curse. :smiley:

Allowing for English transliteration, it’s “Aye-goo!” in Korean.

In french, “aïe” or “ouille”. e.g. a song by french singer Jacques Dutronc, comparing the world to a cactus:

I think we’re rapidly approaching some kind of consensus for “Ai” or something similar – because it’s the same in Hebrew (sometimes “Aya,” esp. younger children, or “ach”)

“Ouch?” weird. Weird Americans… :smiley:

BTW – I know zero Japanese – but it almost sounds like that could be another vote for “Ay” – “Itt- AY!”

In German, Au [ow] or, with the more loquacious, Autsch [ouch]

We’re talking about the socially-expressive vocalisations when getting hurt, right? Because the actual involuntary sound would not be any of the sounds named above, but rather some sort of grunt or moan

I find interesting that ‘Itai’ is an actual Japanese word meaning ‘painful’.

Although the word “ouch” is used in certain situations, it’s more of a deliberate word, as making the “-ch” sound takes a little tonguework - the “reflex response” is much more often “Ow”.

It may be in imitation of what an individual has heard when someone else hurts himself.
If not a learned response it could be any expletive.

Am I the only one who just goes “Eeeaaagh!”?

In Chinese the “Aiyo” is often followed with “FA!” which is amusingly close to “fuck”. Amusing because little old ladies say it all the time and sometimes you do a double-take.