Wednesday, July 6, 2022

wa yo わよ - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, wa yo わよ is a combination of two sentence-ending particles: wa, generally used by women, used to voice one's decision, surprise, conclusion, or opinion, and yo, used when correcting someone or informing, alerting them of something. In manga and anime, it's typically used by "rich girl," ojousama お嬢様 characters speaking in polite language: desu wa yo ですわよ, ~masu wa yo ますわよ, ~masen wa yo ませんわよ.

負けませんわよ 時期生徒会副会長になるのはこのわたくしですわ! わ 私だって負けないもん! というか向日葵には負けないからっ うぐぐっ 相変わらず生意気な子ですわ
Manga: Yuru Yuri ゆるゆり (Chapter 7, 長期連載への布石)


See the articles about the wa わ particle and yo よ particle for grammar. This article is mostly for the examples.

In summary, a sentence with wa yo わよ literally combines the effect of wa わ with the effect of yo よ, both of which are difficult to explain in separate, so no way I'll do both at once together. Basically:

  • Context: someone proposes a risky idea to solve a problem.
  • sonna koto shitara shinu wa
    If [you] do something like that, [you] will die.
    • This sentence vocalizes one's shock or surprise in response.
  • sonna koto shitara shinu yo
    (same translation.)
    • This sentence urges the listener to pay attention to the danger of the proposal and change his mind.
  • sonna koto shitara shinu wa yo
    (same translation.)
    • This sentence does both things.

The limitations of both particles also apply. It's not possible to use yo よ in contexts that don't warrant it. And it's not possible to use wa わ with questions and hortatives, even though you could use yo よ in such cases.

  • dare da (yo/*wa/*wa yo)
    Who is [it]?
    Who was [it]?
    Who [did it]? Who [said it]?
  • omae ka (yo/*wa/*wa yo)
    [It] was/is you?!
  • oshiete (yo/*wa/*wa yo)
    [Please] tell [me]!


負けませんわよ 時期生徒会副会長になるのはこのわたくしですわ! わ 私だって負けないもん! というか向日葵には負けないからっ うぐぐっ 相変わらず生意気な子ですわ
Manga: Yuru Yuri ゆるゆり (Chapter 7, 長期連載への布石)
  • Context: Furutani Himawari 古谷向日葵 competes with Oomuro Sakurako 大室櫻子 for the student council presidency.
  • makemasen wa yo
    [I] won't lose.
  • {jiki seitokai fukukaichou ni naru} no wa kono watakushi desu wa!
    The one [who] {will become the next student council vice-president} is this me!
    It's I [who] {will become the next student council vice-president}.
  • wa, watashi datte makenai mon!
    I-I won't lose [either]!
  • toiuka Himawari niwa makenai kara'
    Or rather, [I] wouldn't lose to [you], Himawari.
  • ugugu'
  • aikawarazu {namaiki na} ko desu wa
    As always, [you] are an {impertinent} child. (literally.)
    [You] are impertinent as always.
939600円(税込) レ レンズ別売り・・・!? レンズ以外も揃えるともっとするわよ レフ板 モデルに光を反射させて明るくできる ストロボ 外付けフラッシュ 三脚 手ブレがふせげる 一人宅コスで便利 などなど
Manga: Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru, その着せ替え人形ビスク・ドールは恋をする (Chapter 21)
  • Context: Gojou Wakana 五条新菜 looks up on the internet the price of a camera.
  • kyuu-juu san man kyuu-sen roppyaku en (zei-komi)
    Nine hundred thousand six hundred yen (with tax).
    • It's over 8000 dollars!
    • zei-komi 税込み, "tax included," was spelled here between parentheses without okurigana.
  • re, renzu betsu-uri...!?
    Lens sold separately...!?
  • {renzu igai mo soroeru} to motto suru wa yo
    {Plus other things besides the lens} [it] goes for even more.
    • It costs even more.
    • soroeru - "to join in order to complete a set," in this case "adding" the other pieces of equipment makes it way more expensive.
  • refu-ban, {moderu ni hikari wo hansha sasete} akaruku dekiru
    レフ板 モデル反射させて明るくできる
    Reflector board: {by making light reflect on the model} [it] can make [the photo] brighter.
  • sutorobo, soto-dzuke furasshu
    ストロボ 外付けフラッシュ
    Strobe: external flash.
  • sankyaku, te-bure ga fusegeru, hitori taku-kosu de benri
    三脚 手ブレふせげる 一人宅コス便利
    Tripod: can stop trembling of hand, useful when cosplaying at home alone.
    • fusageru - potential of fusegu 防ぐ, "to block," "to prevent."
  • nado nado
    Et cetera et cetera.

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