ja, adverb and & noun

Forms:
ya, yahShow more Formerly also ya, yah, yaw.
Origin:
Dutch
colloquial
‘Yes’.
A. adverb
1. Used to indicate assent or consent to a request, proposal, or order; repeated, may indicate irritation at being nagged.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 18 Oct. 165Capt. Damant asked Mr. Uys to claim the winning horse for him, and Uys said ‘Ja Ja’.
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 87Their invariable answer is ‘yah,’ without a second thought; the promise to fulfil an agreement is given, but when the time arrives for its accomplishment, they either neglect or have forgotten all about it.
1899 G.H. Russell Under Sjambok 85‘There are six of us here, and he has no rifle; let us surround the bush and put the dogs in.’ ‘Ja, ja, good!’ yelled another, ‘let the dogs go in’.
1949 O. Walker Wanton City 61Where’s our blerry scoff, eh? Hamba. Go on, man. Jijima! Tchecha!..‘Yah, yah, baas!’ grinned Ephraim,..and trotted off to the canteen.
1987 Scope 20 Nov. 39Marie Korf..begged her brother to throw away the dynamite...Ja, Ja, Ja. I will, don’t worry, I’ll drop it.’
1988 M. Orson in Fair Lady 16 Mar. 128‘Listen, let’s swim in our pyjamas.’ ‘Ja!’ I almost bellowed.
2. ‘It is so’: a simple affirmative.
a. An affirmative reply to a question.
1835 A. Steedman Wanderings II. 27I experienced great difficulty in making my Bushman companion comprehend my questions rightly, his constant replies being nothing more that Yah, yah! to the most opposite inquiries.
1877 R.M. Ballantyne Settler & Savage 10‘This is pleasant!’ said Charlie...‘Ja, it is pleasant,’ replied Hans.
1897 J.P. Fitzpatrick Outspan 6‘What, in winter time, and with lions about?’ ‘Yah! Well, you get used to that.’
c1929 S. Black in S. Gray Three Plays (1984) 58Lynda: Il sont tres a la mode, n’est ce pas! Van K: Oh ja...I mean, we we.
1935 P. Smith Platkops Children 61He asked them, would they trust this man a little? An’ they said Ja.
1959 J. Packer High Roof 179‘You know what that means?’ ‘Ja, I know.’
1973 M. Philip Caravan Caravel 29‘Pete, are you awake?’ she whispered. ‘Ja,’ he answered softly.
c1985 P. Firth in Eng. Alive 32‘Oh. You’re in standard nine, hey?’ ‘Ja. You as well?’
b. An affirmative response to a statement.
1900 W.S. Churchill London to Ladysmith 120‘Think of a great Afrikander Republic...’ Their eyes glittered. ‘That’s what we want,’ said one. ‘Yaw, yaw,’ said the others.
1910 D. Fairbridge That Which Hath Been (1913) 51He said..‘He will need to work with sympathy...Practical sympathy..’ ‘Ja,’ added the vrouw, emphatically.
1931 V. Sampson Kom Binne 258‘Your sheep are looking well, Oom Tias.’ ‘Ja,’ replied Oom Tias with a broad smile.
1957 D. Jacobson Price of Diamonds 129Groenewald began to fear that..he had offended his superior. So, as a placatory contribution to the discussion, Groenewald threw in, ‘Ja, that’s something to think about’.
1973 Sunday Times 1 Apr. (Mag. Sect.) 11‘It seems that this is a unilingual country, or that you wish it to be,’ retorted Mr. Campbell, and there were shouts of ‘Ja’.
1990 G. Slovo Ties of Blood 41Zelig smiled. ‘Sometimes these kaffirs get me down,’ he replied. The assistant looked relieved. ‘Ja, I know just what you mean.’
3. An indication that the speaker has heard, noted, or understood (something).
a. ‘I understand’, ‘I see’: used to indicate that the speaker has taken note of a statement, action, or event; sometimes indicating impatience.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. I.Would hint how much I had to do; — shewed my writing materials, which would merely produce a drowsy ‘yaw;’ — would look at my watch.
1892 Cape Illust. Mag. Dec. 112‘Don’t think that I am ungrateful, sir, or that I don’t appreciate your kindness for — —’ ‘Yah, yah,’ interposed the Dutchman, rising to his feet. ‘I understand; do the best for yourself, of course.’
1899 J.P. Fitzpatrick Tvl from Within 108The old President jumped up in a huff and said, ‘Ja, ja, ja! You always say it is somebody else!’
1971 Daily Dispatch 30 June 10Hilary said, ‘I believe I am the first man to have climbed this peak and I claim it in the name of Her Britannic Majesty.’ ‘O ja,’ said Koos.
1973 Drum 8 May 24‘Mmmmm...mm yaaa. I see,’ the withered hand stretches out for another bone, he squints, and places it next to the bull.
1973 Y. Burgess Life to Live 65He did not enjoy his daily bread, for he was expected to say ‘Ja, Boet Ben’, that is, ‘Yes, Brother Ben’, whenever Ben paused, to show that he was awake and listening.
b. Acknowledging that the speaker has heard a summons or call, and is paying attention.
1882 C. Du Val With Show through Sn Afr. II.Yells for Sixpence would result in a guttural ‘Yah, Baas — yah, Baas!’
1884 B. Adams Narr. (1941) 58Master: ‘Hendricus.’ Servant: ‘Yah, myneer.’
1892 The Jrnl 31 Mar. 4‘Klaas!..’ ‘Ja, baas.’ ‘Take those cattle to the skit at once.’
c. Used (interrogatively or as an exclamation) to show that what has been said is of interest to the speaker.
1900 B. Mitford Aletta 25‘Who is it?’ ‘The Patriot,’ burst forth the other. ‘Ja, that is good! I have wanted so much to see him.’
1949 O. Walker Wanton City 128‘There he is, Danie. That’s the funny man on The Comet.’ ‘Ja?’ said Danie Vos...‘Another blerry rooinek, eh?’
d. Used to show that the speaker has understood a statement or has anticipated and understood an objection to something that he or she has said; indicating disagreement or only partial agreement, and usually introducing a counter-argument.
1920 R. Juta Tavern 139I let you kiss me, but I closed my eyes and..imagined it was someone else. Ja! Ja! I know, they wish the vineyards to join...Should I marry you, it would be just like this kiss; I would always close my eyes.
1929 V.L. Cameron Reverse Shield 11‘No-one can visit a country without being..influenced by it.’ ‘Ach, ja, but he would never ape the English,’ declared Oom Jan stubbornly.
1982 Fair Lady 22 Sept. 117Ja, but I’m more likely to go boom and kick someone else, then stagger.
1989 E. Frank in Scope 10 Mar. 98The witness looked at her doubtfully. ‘Ja, she’s about the right height. But the oke who robbed us was Coloured,..and he had dark hair.’
e. In the phr. ja, well, an apologetic, embarrassed, or world-weary response.
1980 Sunday Times 25 May (Mag. Sect.) 5‘We’ve been married for a year...He’s terrific...He even does the washing up...’ Joe squirms. ‘Ja, well,’ he said. ‘I tell you these kids today don’t know what they missed by missing rock and roll.’
1987 Scope 20 Nov. 44‘Are you full of drugs again, Jimmy?’ ‘Ja, well, you know me.’
1990 G. Slovo Ties of Blood 326Ja, well, I can’t feel sorry for Nicholas. He’s made his bed, and a very comfortable one it is, too.
1990 K. Pather in Cue 5 July 2Ja well, you’ve seen it all you say; lots of amandlas, toyi-toyi and just another struggle story line.
f. In the expression ja well no fine /jɑː ˌwel nəʊ ˈfaɪn/ interjection and adverb, also jawellnofine, yarwellnofine, [coined in 1978 by R.J.B. Wilson of the SABC (‘My youngest brother was in the habit of saying “no fine” to everything that really required a “c’est la vie” or “that’s the way the cookie crumbles”. It had a nice South African feel to it. I added “Ja, well...” to it to reinforce the South Africanism when I was looking for a title for my radio series “Jarwellknowfine” (my original spelling)’)], an expression equivalent to ‘all right’, ‘c’est la vie’, ‘that’s life’: used to indicate a non-committal, resigned, or ironical response, or parodying South African English. speech.
1982 Sunday Times 31 MayJa well no fine’ (also No, fine): to explain this to non-South Africans is a challenge.
1982 D. Kramer Short Back & Sides 57They took the tray from the window, And I said ‘Was yours OK?’, And you said ‘Ja well, no fine’.
1983 Star 15 Sept. 1How many voters find it all very bewildering, among them Smitty — Mr Average Ou — who, instead of voting either a straight ‘ja’ or ‘Nee’ would really prefer to vote a ‘Jawellnofine’.
1983 Sunday Times 18 Dec. 16Jawellnofine — that was 1983.
1986 V. Cooke et al. in S. Gray Market Plays 16Tony: Who’s Bob? Tony: Hey, you should be on TV. Anna: Yar well no fine. Tony: Oh stop it. You killing me.
1987 R. Cutler in Style May 107The next morning she asked him if he had had a good night. ‘Ja, well no fine,’ said True Butch, ‘I swear I never ever sleep so good before.’
1989 Sunday Times 24 Dec. 23Gwen Gill’s A-to-Z of the decade: Jamie Uys, Jimmy Cook, Jawellnofine.
1990 Sunday Times 8 Apr. 6‘My wife..says she heard this song with that four-letter word in it on the radio the other day.’ His jovial face slips into outraged surprise. It won’t be Ja well, no fine to that kind of smut here tonight.
1990 M. Fassler in Fair Lady 21 Nov. 81Charles tried to pluck up the courage to pop the question...He asked me just before dinner and I said something like ‘Ja well, no fine’.
1992 S. Gutknecht in Sunday Times 19 Apr. (Mag. Sect.) 28Jawellnofine. I’ll check you later, broer. Me and my chick are off to the flicks.
1993 Weekend Post 9 Oct. 9Ja, well no fine. No Queen’s English for us Sefricans, just a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
4. Used to emphasize or affirm one’s own words or thoughts.
1911 Blackburn & Caddell Secret Service 87‘Ja, I have wonderful eyes’ was his only answer to our question, ‘How do you know all this?’
1913 D. Fairbridge Piet of Italy 62‘Always I drink coffee,’ he said in the Taal, ‘and always I sleep by night. Ja, and by day, too.’
1924 L. Cohen Reminisc. of Jhb. 18The..Dutchman..scooped all the money in sight...Ja, you have all paid.’
c1966 J. Hobbs in New S. Afr. Writing 161Here were pearls of wisdom, the precious fruit of years of experience. ‘A tomato is a bugger, ja,’ he said.
1970 M. Dikobe Marabi Dance. 67December 16, Ja, it’s Dingaan’s Day. Ja, it will be his day off.
1987 L. Beake Strollers 98Johnny allowed the purchase of cake and sweet sticky cooldrinks. He sipped his while they strolled along the quiet dusty streets. Ja, this was the life!
1988 Frontline Apr. 24I do not want to go to heaven when I die, fancy meeting Ou Strydom, Smuts, Malan, Verwoerd and who’s the ancestor of the boers? Ja, the great pirate Ou Jan van Riebeeck and his fancy hair-do.
1993 Pace July 54Lancelot — ja, that was the weakling’s name.
5. Used without particular meaning to open a conversation.
1936 C. Birkby Thirstland Treks 57Naand, oom.’ ‘Naand, neef.’ We drank coffee. The old man talked. ‘Ja,’ he said, ‘Ja, we left the old village’.
1972 Drum 8 Oct. 14I expected him to ask me: ‘Ja, you skelm so you are still alive, you bloody bastard?’
1984 Sunday Times 11 Nov. (Lifestyle)Ja, so I was saying all the collections show these amazing outfits from the Japanese designers.
1992 Weekend Post 26 Dec. 11Ja, we were all different, but we were a united community.
6. A reprimand: ‘I told you so’, ‘you should have known better’.
c1966 M. Jabour in New S. Afr. Writing 91‘Now what’s the matter with the thing, hey? Cohen said it was in perfect condition.’ Ouma leaned forward...‘Ja, ja, I warned you not to trust that Jewboy, Jannie.’
1993 Sowetan 22 Jan. 8Ja! I told you she’s bringing strange animals into Progress!
7. In the phrase oh, ja, used to indicate that one has just remembered something which one had intended to mention earlier.
1974 Blossom in Darling 9 Oct. 95But where was I? Oh ja, about greasy hair.
1988 Time JuneJuly 5Give fate a gentle shove. You may become the next boy/girl wonder of local pop. Oh ja, and if you don’t have the right equipment, they supply that as well.
B. noun An utterance of ‘ja’.
1971 Rand Daily Mail 18 Feb.The 450 workers present shouted a loud ‘Ja’ when Mr..asked if they were prepared to strike if all negotiations failed.
‘Yes’.
Used to indicate assent or consent to a request, proposal, or order; repeated, may indicate irritation at being nagged.
‘It is so’: a simple affirmative.
An affirmative reply to a question.
An affirmative response to a statement.
‘I understand’, ‘I see’: used to indicate that the speaker has taken note of a statement, action, or event; sometimes indicating impatience.
Acknowledging that the speaker has heard a summons or call, and is paying attention.
Used (interrogatively or as an exclamation) to show that what has been said is of interest to the speaker.
Used to show that the speaker has understood a statement or has anticipated and understood an objection to something that he or she has said; indicating disagreement or only partial agreement, and usually introducing a counter-argument.
an apologetic, embarrassed, or world-weary response.
In the expression ja well no finejɑː ˌwel nəʊ ˈfaɪninterjection and adverb, also jawellnofine, yarwellnofine, [coined in 1978 by R.J.B. Wilson of the SABC (‘My youngest brother was in the habit of saying “no fine” to everything that really required a “c’est la vie” or “that’s the way the cookie crumbles”. It had a nice South African feel to it. I added “Ja, well...” to it to reinforce the South Africanism when I was looking for a title for my radio series “Jarwellknowfine” (my original spelling)’)], an expression equivalent to ‘all right’, ‘c’est la vie’, ‘that’s life’: used to indicate a non-committal, resigned, or ironical response, or parodying . speech.
Used to emphasize or affirm one’s own words or thoughts.
Used without particular meaning to open a conversation.
‘I told you so’, ‘you should have known better’.
used to indicate that one has just remembered something which one had intended to mention earlier.
An utterance of ‘ja’.
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