On the Y-word

Just to get it off my chest:

There is great variety in the way people spell the word “Yeah”.  I notice this every time Dixie writes “Ya”, which is what she means for the word I spell “Yeah”.   As I see it, the spelling should be as follows:

Yeah for “Yeah, I know” or “Yeah, that’s right.”

Yea (pronounced “yay”) for “Yea though I walk through the valley death” (in other words, most people shouldn’t be using this word anymore)

Yay for “Yay! I just won the lottery!”  or “Yay! The Captain and Tennille are reuniting!” 

As far as I’m concerned, “Ya” is always an incorrect spelling.  In my mind, it’s pronounced rather like a combination of the first half of “yawp” (or “yop”) and “yap”.  It’s different than “Yeah” and cannot be substituted for it.


Of course, I have begun to recognize in recent years that language is fluid and in many respects is simply what you make it.  But still…here I stand.

What say you?

11 thoughts on “On the Y-word

  1. Toni

    A lot of the white Africans round here say ‘Ya’, although they’d probably write it ‘Ja’ or ‘Yah’. It’s what passes for yes.

  2. Jyl

    For myself, I try to avoid “yeah” only because I read it phonetically and see it as slangy rap like “Yee-ah…’sup dog?” (to be combined with a shoulder level hand slap and a chest bump).

    I tend to stick with “yah”…only out of preference.

    And, for what it’s worth, I don’t think “Yay!” would ever be associated with a Captain and Tennille reunion


  3. Jean

    Yeah, I’m with you on this one. As for “yea”,as in walking through the valley of death, okay.

  4. joanne

    I use Ya, or Yeah, depending on my mood and the context. They have different intonation and attitude with me. Who cares anyway? isn’t it great how everyone’s different. There are a zillion types of ‘yeah/ya/yea/ye/yup/yehhh’ out there.

  5. Jay

    I think we must fight against the destruction of the English language one laziness at a time.

    How’s that for dogma? 🙂

  6. Johanna

    I have to agree with you on this one, but my issue isn’t so much with “yeah/yea/yay”, I have more of an issue with “ya/yeah/yah”.

    “Yah” and “ya” make me think of some gum-smacking teenage girl…not at all genteel and rarely appropriate. However, in my opinion “yeah” is an acceptable, while casual, substitute for “yes”.

    People in my workplace are somewhat English-challenged, so I get a lot of emails with spelling errors, grammar errors, and “ya” when “yeah” would be much more appropriate. It’s like typing with Caps-Lock on.

  7. Collette

    I’m with Marc and specifically Johanna! the only times I type “ya” is if I’m being super casual, kinda flippant, and just say “ya that’s what I meant” or “ya ya whatever”.

    yay! yahoo! yee-haw!

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