Alphabets & Writing Learn Hiragana Common Anime Words

Yahari and Yappari - Meaning in Japanese

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
In anime, one expression that shows up a lot is the single word yahari 矢張り, and the extremely similar yappari やっぱり. They are often translated in many different ways depending on context like as "as I thought," "it really was that," etc. And there's the doubt about the difference between yahari and yappari. So in this post I'll explain all these strange things about these words.

(part of Meanings of Anime Words)

First off, let's clear up the problem with the real meaning of the word yahari 矢張り and why it's translated in so many different ways in English: it's mostly because when you translate something literally, you always have the same translation but it sounds unnatural in English most of the time. So it varies depending on context.

The basic meaning is: "something happened, and it was like I thought it was going to happen." That whole thing is what yahari means. You could summarize by "it was just as I thought." Or even "as I thought." Or "as I assumed." But the basic idea remains the same.

Sometimes yahari is used with some other words that hardly matter. Examples:
  • yahari sou deshita ka 矢張りそうでしたか
    As I thought it was that way.
  • yahari sou datta やっぱりそうだった
    As I thought it was that way.
  • yappa ne やっぱね
    As I thought it was that way.

The trick is that depending on the character and the situation, the English translation varies. For example, a critical-thinking character after being given some news would have his line translated as "as I thought" or "as I presumed," but if it comes out of the mouth of a kid reacting to something it would be "I knew it!"

Yahari vs Yappari

The next problem is the difference between yahari and yappari.

There is no difference between yahari and yappari. They are pretty much the same word. It just happens that, in Japanese, words with syllables starting with h, such as ha は and ho ほ, are made sound stronger than normal by turning those syllables into ppa っぱ and ppo っぽ.

That is, yappari just sounds stronger yahari, it has no other difference besides that emphasis on the sound. In some cases, such as with nihon and nippon, there is a difference between a word and the other, but with yahari and yappari there is no actual difference.

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