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’.
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.
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.
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.
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!’
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.
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.’
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.
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?’
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’.
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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18321993