If I am not mistaken, words like "哦“ or ”啊” are interjections (语气动词、感叹词).

However, I am wondering as to why it has the 言 radical, in place of the 口 radical? Usually I see 言 in place of words that are related to speech, like "讲", however, 诶 is a sound that is made. This is why I am curious of the reasoning behind the speech radical.

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    You mean the 口 semantic component, right? Radicals are dictionary organisation headers, the only possible radicals for the character 誒 are 言, 厶, or 矢.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 21:30
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    I've to admit I never know the word 诶. I think these two are used more often "唉" and "哎". The former is closer to 诶. Another similar word - 噯.
    – r13
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 21:34
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    Per wiki, 誒 is "an exclamation of affirmation", and 唉 is "interjection or grunt of agreement". 誒 implies the act of speech, similar to 讲 and 說 so the 言 radical. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E8%AF%B6
    – r13
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 22:12
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    We use the character 诶 in spoken. Actually, it's pretty common as in 诶, 这是什么?. But I just don't know how to write it down until I see this post! I think (to your question) part of reason is that we already have the character 唉, which is different from the usage of 诶.
    – dan
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 0:26

1 Answer 1


According to the comments above, 口 is a semantic component/形聲字 rather than a radical部首. The character 诶/Éi is used when we are unsure of something or are in the process of thinking. While the character 唉/ai、is used when making a sound of relief. Since 唉 already existed, the character for the "Éi" sound will be 诶. Also, 诶 could also be used for implying the act of speech.

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