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When Dinner Parties Turn Into A War Oh The Words

Do you say ‘oh’ or ‘zero’? Or perhaps you say ‘nought’? Either way, it’s tearing families apart.

Well, maybe not that dramatic. But it appears there’s a new discussion to dig into should you want to cause tension at your next dinner party. Here’s how it starts:

“Gary, would you like some of this salad”

“Yes thank you, Cynthia.”

“Great, here you go, now what’s your phone number?”

And then Gary will reveal himself as either an ‘oh’ person, or a ‘zero’ person, whereby aligning with your personal values or not. Which will lead to Gary being rewarded with a dessert of choice, or kicked to the curb, never to return to your house again (depending about how much you care about this sort of thing).

It’s all to do with linguistics, and it turns out there isn’t a wrong or right way to say things- it’s all just shortcuts and evolution, baby!

And it also doesn’t matter if you’re a purist about this sort of thing, as Kate Burridge, a professor of linguistics at Monash University told ABC Radio Melbourne.

"Words do shift in their meaning… ‘oh’ has been used for a while now."

So if your mate tells you that you’re wrong for saying ‘oh’ you can say that you’ve evolved and they’re starting to sound positively Shakespearian.

Another way to pronounce it

"We take shortcuts all the time and we do it in everything, not just language," Professor Burridge expanded.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, has come from a professor. So unless you’re a professor of linguistics professors I don’t think you can argue against this one.