Student Life

Can You Use Aiyah and Aiyo in Your Next English Essay?

Published by Afterschool.my on Feb 21, 2018, 01:00 am

Writing an essay is no easy task for most Malaysians, even for the most religious practitioner of the English Language. The bulk of the blame should perhaps fall on the shoulders of our everyday conversations, which are littered with phrases and words that are quintessential Malaysians. While most would end a sentence with a full stop, we know that the line isn’t truly complete with a “lah” at its tail end. Blocking out our usual utterances when one has to formally write an essay for a bit of homework or as part of an exam requires a certain amount of effort. Now however, the task may have got that much easier. While “lah” is best left out of the equation unless one has a propensity for big red circles, “aiyah” and “aiyo” may just be allowed now that they have found themselves inducted into the hallowed pages of the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Oxford English Dictionary (uses best English accent) defines Aiyo as an exclamation, used to express distress, regret, or grief. As in ‘aiyo, why do things like this always happen to me?’. 

Aiyah on the other hand is defined as an exclamation as well, used to express dismay, exasperation, or surprise. Used in a sentence: ‘aiyah, you mustn't work so hard; you must find time for other things’.

Sounds 100% right if you ask us. Do proceed with caution if you do intend to use these words in your next classroom essay, for other words that were added to the prestigious dictionary included YOLO. Aiyo, indeed!

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