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Keep your English Up to Date
Keep your English Up to Date



Listen to Professor Crystal

Interjections are words which express emotions and some of them are very old: words like 'cooer', 'gosh' or 'phew'. You don't get new interjections very often, but one did arrive in the 1980s. It was a sort of expression of enthusiastic desire - usually by a man about a woman.

Easy to say 'phwoar!' like that - less easy to write. How do you spell such a thing? All interjections have this kind of problem. Well, I've seen it spelled f-o-o-o-a-r for instance ...all sorts of things beginning with f. But the one that is most widely used these days is p-h-w-o-a-r: 'phwoar!' like that.

Well it's becoming very frequent, in all kinds of television programmes I've heard it used recently. Interestingly, although it was originally a male noise, it's now being used by women. Women are using it back to the men. 'Phwoar' these days could be a man looking at a woman in an enthusiastic way, or a woman looking at a man in an enthusiastic way. Nobody's ever said it to me; I just can't be an object of enthusiastic desire I suppose?


download transcriptTranscript (pdf - 42k)

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download audioAudio - Professor David Crystal on "Phwoar" (mp3 - 802k)
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