How to say OW! in different languages

There’s a thread on Reddit discussing the sound or expression made when sudden pain is experienced. As you would expect, some are expressions, others are “the word for ouch”, a subtle difference maybe, but one that translators take quite seriously. Here is an edited list of highlights:

In French it is “aïe!”, in German is “aua”, but some say “autsch” too, sounding like the English “ouch”. In Poland, “aua”, and the same in Slovenian. In Danish it’s “Av!” – preferably followed by “for helvede!” (“god dammit”). In Spanish it is “huy”, but in Mexican Spanish it’s “¡ai!”. In Brazilian Portuguese: “Ai, Porra!”

Ouch in Tagalog is “aray”, in Urdu/Hindi, it’s “Aie!”, Indonesian is “Aduh” and in Cantonese and Mandarin, “Ayah”. In Khmer and Thai it is “Oy” (โอ๊ย). Koreans, especially women say “Aigo!”, men seem a little more likely to say ” Aish!”

In Japanese it’s “itai” (痛い), although it’s usually contracted to “ite” (いて), is considered funny when expressed “itetetetetetete” (いててててててて) – a tradition that comes from Anime perhaps – and can also be pronounced “itta” (いった), typically by young males.

In Arabic it’s “Akh!” and in Afrikaans “Eina!”, pronounced “ey na”. In Swahili, it’s usually a high-pitched “eh!” that is more or less aspirated. Men and women both. Also, it is customary for anyone within earshot to reply with a sympathetic “pole”, pronounced ‘poh-lay’.

Of course, a collection of people online will always lead to the ridiculous (and in some cases NSFW):

In Python

print "ow"

In C

fprintf(stdout, "ow!");

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