What does aye mean in Australia and New Zealand?

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In my previous job I heard many Australian speakers using aye like sorry and pardon to ask for repeating what other person said. I also heard one kiwi guy using aye in the same way. But, now I work somewhere else with people from different countries -- although they speak English. They mostly use huh instead of aye and don't understand aye, although most of them were born in Australia.

So, does aye really mean same sorry and pardon in Australia and New Zealand?

user31782

Posted 2018-04-26T11:56:21.567

Reputation: 1 693

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Are you "mistranscribing" what would normally be written as *Eh?* That's a sound made in speech, especially one used to express enquiry, where the "enquiry" often effectively amounts to I didn't hear that, Please repeat what you said, Pardon?, What [did you say]?. We Brits often say 'Ay is for 'orses, but in an Australian accent *Eh?* often rhymes with *eye* rather than *hay*.

– FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2018-04-26T12:43:17.800

@FumbleFingers I reckon it sounds same as I. From your link, when I clicked on speaker button it sounds the same as people speak here. So I guess I am talking of Eh. – user31782 – 2018-04-26T13:01:28.180

1In which case it's not really a "word" with any particularly clear / fixed meaning. Among other meanings, it might be "shorthand" for What did you say?, Do / Don't you agree? I agree / disagree. Or it might mean pretty much nothing at all - some Canadians, for example, seem to append it to many conversational utterances where it's nothing more than a meaningless "discourse marker". – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2018-04-26T13:19:50.437

@FumbleFingers Actually, there is a definite meaning to the Canadian "Eh?" It's meant to seek agreement, consensus, or understanding and is a rough equivalent to "okay?" or "right?" So it's correct to say, "The store is closed, eh?" but it is incorrect and weird, even in Canada, to say, "Is the store open yet, eh?" – Canadian Yankee – 2018-04-26T21:10:49.410

@Canadian: Taking note of your handle, it seems unwise for me to argue over how Canadians use eh. But I would just say that in some British "colloquial speech" contexts, it can be perfectly natural to append it to a question. Particularly, I think, a threatening question - such as when you knock over a guy's drink in a pub, and he says/asks Are you gonna buy me another pint, eh? – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2018-04-27T12:29:31.120

Answers

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NZ has more of a scottish influence then Australia, but even as an Australian I would take aye to be the Scottish yes. Put with a question mark (written or intoned) then it could take on all possible meanings of "yes?" That's not something in my experience that would cover pardon/sorry, but I imagine there'd be groups out there that would use it as such. You can get an interjection to mean almost anything with the right intonation.

The other version is at the end of a sentence eg "that was sick as, aye". It's added in expectation of an affirmative response.

Paul Childs

Posted 2018-04-26T11:56:21.567

Reputation: 899

Right, aye is yes in Scottish. And the Scots use it all the time even when they export themselves. – Lambie – 2018-04-26T15:14:05.657

1It would be good to include that the "aye" you are talking about is "aye that sounds like eye". Just as there seems to be confusion around whether OP meant "aye like eye, or aye like A" – None – 2018-04-26T16:27:04.873

aye like A is spelled "eh" for some reason and means "what?" – user253751 – 2020-06-29T13:01:49.123