Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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The use of “oh” in conversation has been widely studied. These studies demonstrate various uses of “oh” in different sequences. For example, John Heritage (1984) has identified six different sequences in which “oh” is used as a “change-of-state token”. Ian Hutchby (2001) has demonstrated how “oh” can be used ironically in disputations. This study compares the observations concerning “oh” in spoken modern English with “oh”/“O” in The First Folio and Early Quartos of William Shakespeare. This comparison demonstrates that all of the identified contemporary uses of “oh” were also used in the Elizabethan English of Shakespeare. Furthermore, the Shakespeare corpus includes some previously unidentified uses of “oh” (for example, “oh” prefacing a refusal to a request) that augment our understanding of “oh”.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): conversation analysis; discourse markers; oh; pragmatic markers; Shakespeare
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