Life in the Philippines – O-o!

That’s got you confused I bet!

Uh-oh in English is an interjection for “oops, something just happened” and is generally a negative. It is used to indicate a sudden awareness of a problem or error and the resulting worry. Examples could be “uh-oh I did it again” signifying I have repeated a previous error. “Uh-oh, you’ll be in trouble when mum gets home”, something I heard a lot as a child. “Oh-oh” is the American version of “Uh-oh”.

Both variations of uh-oh sound almost exactly like the Tagalog, “o-o”. In Tagalog, however, “o-o” means “yes”. The polite form of it may be changed to “o-po”, “Yes sir/ma’am,” but o-o is heard a lot. It can be used like the English “uh-huh” as well so “o-o” repeated through a conversation from one person generally means “yep, got it”.

So now, when I break something in the Philippines, I bite my tongue and avoid saying “uh-oh”. Now I am more likely to say “oh crap” as there is no mistaking the intent of that!

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