The Eh Myth BustedPublished by Toronto Mike on April 15, 2007 @ 15:28 in O Canada
Thanks to Bob and Doug McKenzie, we Canadians have always been associated with the expression "eh?". Truth be told, I never say "eh" unless I'm intentionally saying it to fulfil the expectations of the stereotype. We're supposed to say it, so I'll say it for effect. I never say it as a natural part of speech.
A study by University of Toronto sociolinguist Sali Tagliamonte suggests "eh" is leaving Canadian language.
Tagliamonte and her team interviewed 165 native-born, English-speaking Torontonians of all ages to find out how local – and perhaps, by extension, Canadian – English is changing.
The interviews yielded a grand total of 2,272,392 word uses, of which the most common was "I," spoken 114,100 times, followed by "and" at 90,861. The word "like" ranked fifth, at 67,183.
"Eh," however, was used a scant 519 times, accounting for a piddly .02 per cent of the total.
Younger Canadians simply don't say "eh", and I'm guessing that's because they haven't seen Bob and Doug McKenzie and they don't realize they're supposed to. I know Bob and Doug, but do teenagers and those in their early 20s know them? Without Bob and Doug leading the way, it's no wonder we're losing our "eh".
As a result of this study, I'm going to sprinkle more "eh's" into conversations. I'm bringing the Canadian Eh back, eh?