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What is this "يا" that is added before names?

For instance: "أَهْلاً يا كَري" is "Hello, Carrie"

July 12, 2019



It grammatically indicates that you addressing the person instead of talking about them. When you are using someones name to address someone it is always used. It is very helpful if you are trying to get someone's attention!

Fun fact: In Moroccan Arabic, you take away the ي in the يا.

For example اَ صاحْبي would be "hey friend!" like you see your friend and are shouting out to them to get their attention.

  • 1351

Actually the Moroccan (أ) is indeed a form of the classical vocative. You can call a person by (يا) or (أ) and also (أيا) - and the second probably became more common in Morocco.

You can see it in classical poetry like Abu Firas': أقول وقد ناحت بقربي حمامة - أيا جارتا هل تشعرين بحالي


It's a vocative particle.

In old-fashioned / poetic English usage, you might see "O" used, as in "Hello, O Carrie!"

It just indicates "the following word is the name of the person that I am speaking to -- if that is your name, then please listen!"


!mizinamo يشُكراٌ يا


As far as I know, it is a form of address that is used in Arabic if you talk to someone directly. I can't think of an equivalent in English. It is just how it is done in Arabic.

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