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Y-What?

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I have recently been encountering the word “ya” in contexts where I’m unsure whether it’s meant to convey excitement or agreement.  For some time, I thought it was completely invalid as an English word, though I’m familiar with its Spanish meaning.  That’s why I did a double-take when an author I respect used it, correctly.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be such a prescriptivist, but this is a situation where I have actually lost time over someone’s poor spelling.  Therefore: I present a small list of words that might be confusing to the less literate on the internet.  Not that I think any of them actually read my small corner of it, but in the vain hope that it might be useful to somebody, somewhere, sometime.

Word Rhymes with Definition Sample sentence
Ya a, the Very informal second-person pronoun Ya know, ya just can’t prevent stupidity from hitting ya right in the eyeballs.
Yaw claw, saw Rotation around a vertical axis Wind direction is indicated by the sock’s yaw, speed by its pitch.
Yay stay, play Interjection of happy surprise or excitement You mean it?  Yay!
Ye be, see Formal and/or archaic second-person plural subject pronoun Be ye therefore perfect, despite the cost to you individually or collectively.
Yea nay, tray Formal and/or archaic agreement or emphasis Yea, it shall indeed come to pass.
Yeah nah Weak and/or hesitant agreement Yeah, probably, when I get around to it.

Sadly, I’m having trouble coming up with another rhyme for that last one; the onomatopoetic word for a sheep’s bleat seems to be close.  Even more troubling is that the one I’ve used has at least two valid pronunciations.  Fortunately, it’s in such common use that the sentence should help even those who haven’t yet encountered its written form.

I also came close to including “yah” as the final syllable of a martial arts battle cry, as exemplified by Miss Piggy, but I can’t quite justify it as a word in and of itself.  The main reason for inclusion would be a contrast against the proper spelling of what really should have been written, most of the time.

Finally, I might sometime use a stylesheet that makes that table look good…  Oh, well.

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Written by eswald

24 Apr 2012 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Lifestyle

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