Use of the Word 'YA'

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XXKWISIT

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Apr 15, 2007
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I am confused by the word YA. it seems to be used everywhere in different contexts.

I notice on TV commercial they will say:llame ya. Which I take to mean: call now.

I notice people will use it in the colmado when they are finished asking for what they need.

Another example is: ya termino. I guess it to mean finished now?

It just seems to pop up in sentences.

Can anyone give me an exact definition?

Sorry if it's already been discussed, i tried searching with no luck.
 

El Tigre

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Jan 23, 2003
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And lately (to throw another spin at this) it's being used as SLANG. Yes, you heard it right. For example...when you say something to a tiguere like "damn, this place is pumping" he will say YA. Like saying NO NEED TO SAY MORE. That was just an example. But there are people that abuse the hell out of it. They say YA at the finish of every sentence you say while conversing. My little cousins do this to me and it drives me INSANE!!! So I have decided to put a stop to it. I correct them all the time and if they don't fix it I don't talk to them. It's become my latest pet peeve.
 

SKing

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Nov 22, 2007
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The way my boyfriend says it when I am arguing with him, I think he means "Enough already!!!"
"YA, Shalena,YA!!"
SHALENA
 

CFA123

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May 29, 2004
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It appears to be the utility knife of the spanish language.
Good question... it's a word i use without thinking about it... but perhaps i have more opportunities now that i read a little

from merriam webster

Main Entry: 1ya
Function: adverb
Language: Spanish
1 : already <ya termin? : she's finished already>
2 : now, right now <?hazlo ya! : do it now!> <ya mismo : right away>
3 : later, soon <ya iremos : we'll go later on>
4 : no longer, anymore <ya no fuma : he no longer smokes>
5 (used for emphasis) <?ya lo s?! : I know!> <ya lo creo : of course>
6 no ya : not only <no ya lloran sino gritan : they're not only crying but screaming>
7 ya que : now that, since <ya que sabe la verdad : now that she knows the truth>

Main Entry: 2ya
Function: conjunction
Language: Spanish
ya…ya : whether…or, first…then <ya le gusta, ya no : first he likes it, then he doesn't>

other uses
8 desde ya : right now, immediately

and one i haven't heard (or noticed) here in DR
Main Entry: chole
Function: interjection
Language: Spanish
Mexico, familiar
?ya chole! : enough!, cut it out!


Sample usage: "Ya, toy lito!" ;)
 

XXKWISIT

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Thank you for all the replies. It all makes sense now (well, maybe not 'sense', lol, but I get it).
It just used to confuse me because I would think I had the word figured out, and then would hear someone use it in another context, but I see that there are many.

But just to recap, I can use it as 'already'? I am having a hard time finding an exact translation for 'already'. I've noticed that depending on context people will sometimes use todavia or tan temprano, but is there an exact translation or am I looking for something that does not exist?
 

Ezequiel

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Jun 4, 2008
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Thank you for all the replies. It all makes sense now (well, maybe not 'sense', lol, but I get it).
It just used to confuse me because I would think I had the word figured out, and then would hear someone use it in another context, but I see that there are many.

But just to recap, I can use it as 'already'? I am having a hard time finding an exact translation for 'already'. I've noticed that depending on context people will sometimes use todavia or tan temprano, but is there an exact translation or am I looking for something that does not exist?

You need to interpret the language not translate it, that's why you are having such a hard time. You can't translate every word from English to Spanish word by word because it won't make sense or vice versa.
 

Vacara

I love AZB!
May 5, 2009
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It appears to be the utility knife of the spanish language.
Good question... it's a word i use without thinking about it... but perhaps i have more opportunities now that i read a little

from merriam webster

Main Entry: 1ya
Function: adverb
Language: Spanish
1 : already <ya termin? : she's finished already>
2 : now, right now <?hazlo ya! : do it now!> <ya mismo : right away>
3 : later, soon <ya iremos : we'll go later on>
4 : no longer, anymore <ya no fuma : he no longer smokes>
5 (used for emphasis) <?ya lo s?! : I know!> <ya lo creo : of course>
6 no ya : not only <no ya lloran sino gritan : they're not only crying but screaming>
7 ya que : now that, since <ya que sabe la verdad : now that she knows the truth>

Main Entry: 2ya
Function: conjunction
Language: Spanish
ya?ya : whether?or, first?then <ya le gusta, ya no : first he likes it, then he doesn't>

other uses
8 desde ya : right now, immediately

and one i haven't heard (or noticed) here in DR
Main Entry: chole
Function: interjection
Language: Spanish
Mexico, familiar
?ya chole! : enough!, cut it out!


Sample usage: "Ya, toy lito!" ;)

The two red lines I don't think they apply to DR, they sound more Mexican than anything. For Dominicans "ya" always means "now", never later, unless specified by another word; "ya iremos otro dia" (we'll go another day).

The blue line is very interesting, when say repetitively it becomes sort of a soothing expression, to bring comfort. For instance, if a kid falls to the floor the mother while picking him up will say "ya ya mi hijo ya"; meaning "it's okay, stop crying". It's also used with grown up people, to comfort. I don't think there's anything equivalent in the English language.
 

Chirimoya

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Dec 9, 2002
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How about "there, there"?

I remember Spanish speakers having trouble with the distinction between the English words still, yet, already, any more when I was teaching English.

already, still, yet

The Spanish words ya, a?n, todav?a are equivalents but do not correspond exactly with each of those.

Another use of ya is in ya que = seeing as.
 

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
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Ya also means already ...

....
But just to recap, I can use it as 'already'? I am having a hard time finding an exact translation for 'already'. I've noticed that depending on context people will sometimes use todavia or tan temprano, but is there an exact translation or am I looking for something that does not exist?


Ya has various meanings in Spanish. It has literal, idiomatic and colloquial usage which means the context of the phrase or utterance will clearly allow one to understand its meaning by the speaker. This question has been asked before in the forum which leads me believe that it does cause some confusion for those learning Spanish. However, overtime and by hearing its usage in the day to day speech you will understand the meanings and be able to use the word correctly as well.

The first example provided in post # 7 shows its usage with the meaning of 'already'. Todav?a means still or yet - Did you finish yet?- This may be where you are confusing the meaning with already.

Examples:

1. ya termin? : she's finished already (from post #7)

2. La crisis econ?mica no ha terminado todav?a (or todav?a no ha terminado )- The economic crisis is not over yet.

From the dictionary examples #3 and # 6 I have never heard of but shows the flexibility in usage and meaning of the word.

I think the idiomatic and colloquial usage probably cause the most difficulty. Idiomatic meaning it's part of a fixed expression and cannot be translated literally from Spanish to English and then the colloquial usage which seems to be particularly prevalent in Dominican popular speech (other countries too). My suggestion is to try learning its broader usage and then note the specific regional usage like in the DR because if you interact with Spanish speakers you are going hear the word in different contexts.

Regional usage

In colloquial speech who coined the phrase 'ya t? sabe' (ya t? sabes) Dominicans or Puerto Ricans? I think Puerto Ricans from the surge of reggaeton. This is an example of a colloquialism used by Dominicans and Puerto Ricans who speak very informal Spanish most of the time meaning with plenty of regionalisms, colloquialisms, slang etc. One hears the phrase in songs (I believe this is the origin of the phrase), see it on slogans, etc. however one will understand the meaning when it?s used. Context is key.


-Marianopolita.
 

XXKWISIT

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Apr 15, 2007
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I understand I can't translate exactly, english is not my first language.
Here is an example:
My husband: I am home from beisbol
Me: wow already?!

What would be the correct way to say that? 'wow! tan rapido'?
todavia doesn't seem to fit here...could I use 'ya'?

Thanks for the help.

Just as a side note in reference to pig, I have got that puzzled look. After three years of learning spanish I have an ok grasp. When I speak to my husband he can almost always figure out what I am saying, no matter how badly i butcher the language.lol but when I am speaking to his family i definitely get those puzzled looks. My husband usually just laughs and quickly translates. I think it's at these times that I have learned the most!
 
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mkohn

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Jan 1, 2002
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I once took a 2 year old to the hosp. with his mom. He was having seizures. They wanted to put in an I-V, and I'll always remember him saying "ya."
My understanding was that he was not interested in any more medical attention.
Re: I'm home from beisbol, maybe a response: ya regresaste?
Keep paying attention to what you hear, because it will help round out your understanding of the language. Literal translations, as the others have said don't always correspond 1:1. Ya. Indicating that I'm finished with this reply. :)
 
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