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Using يا in different areas

I am just wondering in which countries is it common to use ya while calling a person by name. I just have learned that in

-- the Emirates not everybody use this word very often. There they use it mainly for:

  • to call someone

  • to grab his attention

  • while talking they use it mainly occationally (e.g. for giving an advice in a soft voice or with a high voice to show anger)

  • and they use yo when someone is far away

-- in Egypt they use it nearly everytime. When you do not use it, then it is there a sign you are a non native speaker. At least this is what I got told.

Please, I really would learn more how this word is used in each area. Thanks in advance.

September 11, 2019



In Syria, you do occasionally use it with someone's name in regular occasions, at least in Damascus, but not very often. However, it is always used in this case when you are calling the attention of someone you do not know. Forexample, if calling out to a little girl or boy, you would say, "ya binit" or "ya welad." Hope this helps.


Thank you so much for telling me. It seems that it is even in one country differently. Someone from Aleppo told me that he uses it every time and in every situation.


I'm a native from Tunisia and it's used all over the Arabic world.

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