Even when there is a spelling difference, it's just a single letter, so the reader really has to stop and puzzle out what you're saying... not what you want in a good story.I have to admit, every time I see this written in a book I never know whether it's supposed to be a positive un-hunh or a negative un-hunh or even an interrogative un-hunh. The spelling is rather arbirtary, I find.
Having tested this extensively (and by the end I felt like I was communicating with your orang-utan), it sums up the difference perfectly.Both no syllables have a glottal beginning.
Only the first yes syllable has.
uh-huh /ʌˈhʌ/ /ˈʌ.hʌ/
a written representation of the sound that people sometimes make in order to give certainty to, agree with or show understanding of something that has just been said:
"Did you hear what I just said?" "Uh-huh."
"You know that strange guy we saw yesterday?" "Uh-huh."
"I'll be back a little late because I'm going via town." "Uh-huh."
exclamation MAINLY US INFORMAL
a written representation of the sound that people sometimes make to give a negative answer:
"You didn't have time to go to the store?" "Uh-uh, no chance."
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
- Uh huh is used in writing to represent a sound that people make when they are agreeing with you, when they want to show that they understand what you are saying, or when they are answering `yes' to a question. CONVENTION informal
- `Did she?'—`Uh huh.'
- `Oh that one'—`Uh huh.
- the way of writing the sound/ˈʌ ʌ/that people make when they are answering ‘No’ to a question exclamation
uh huh /ʌ ˈhʌ,ˈʌ hʌ/ interjection informal
a sound that you make to say 'yes', or when you want someone to continue what they are saying
'Can I sit here?' 'Uh huh.'
uh-uh /ˈʌ ʌ/ interjection informal
a sound that you make to say 'no'
'Is Paul here yet?' 'Uh-uh.'
Gosh ... that has to be the definitive grunt list!Uh-huh = yes
uh-uh = no
uh-oh! = expression of dread
a-ha! = expression of delighted realisation
Well that's what I'd put anyhow.
I understand unh-uh as being a nonstandard spelling of uh-uh--and yes, I think that uh-uh does indeed have a standard spelling. Enter uh-uh at www.onelook.com and you will see that most dictionaries have this spelling, with one having in addition the spelling uh uh. The spelling unh-uh appears only in Wictionary.Thank you very much, Cagey.
I wanted to know the phonetic spelling but the sound clips surely helped me a lot.
So I guess unh-uh is pronounced ˈʌnʌ/.
It is also in the Oxford English Dictionary. For its entries "uh-uh," "uh-huh," and "unh-unh," it gives as pronunciations for those words, respectively, /ʌˈʌ/, /ˈʌhʌ/, and /ˈʌ̃ʌ̃/, but the pronunciation sections for "uh-uh" and "uh-huh" refer the reader to a 1982 cite (under the entry "uh-huh") from J.C. Wells Accents of English III. vi. 556, which discusses the pronunciation of uh-huh and uh-uh:I've never seen unh-uh, but I've often seen unh-unh. Google yields around 128k results for that spelling, and onelook.com lists three dictionaries that use it.
He includes the glottal stops and nasalizations. I'm surprised that Wells says that uh-uh is "not necessarily nasal," but I have a lot of respect for his observations.The first, ‘yes’, is phonetically [ˈə̃hə̃, ˈʌ̃hʌ̃, ˈmm̥m], hence nasal or nasalized; it usually has a rising tone pattern... The second, ‘no’, is [ˈʔəʔˈʔə, ˈʔʌ̃ʔˈʔʌ, ˈʔmʔˈm]..; it is not necessarily nasal, and has an accented final syllable, with an obligatorily falling tone pattern.