Sound Archetype: YA


Certain sound archetypes are firmly imprinted in human consciousness. They permeate the languages of many cultures. The origins of sound archetypes and connections to Semiotics and Phonosemantics were argued in the article titled “Sound Archetypes” [1]. In that article three primary sound archetypes of the Near-Eastern cultures were mentioned: YA, HU and RA. In this article we will focus on YA.

YA the Sound Archetype

The Greek/Latin name Ioannes is pronounced as Yani in Greek. Ioannes is Johannes in some Germanic languages and John in English. The Turkish version is Yahya. The Hebrew version is Yanis. The root is the YA sound. In all forms Yani means God’s gift or God is gracious.

The Greek word Yasu is an expression of joy. The Turkish version is Yaşa. It is interesting that both in Greek and Turkish the joy of living is expressed using the acoustic root YA. In Turkish Yaşam means life. In Arabic life is expressed with the word Hayat, in Hebrew with Hyam. The linguistic signal here is that the life comes from YA. This is an important linguistic signal. YA is the acoustic root closely associated with life and the Creator in the Near-Eastern languages.

In Arabic Yani means “because” and YA is used as the prefix to express affection. Ya-Allah in Arabic means “my dear God” and it is also used as a word meaning “Go with God’s will”. The YA sound is probably the most repeated sound in colloquial Arabic.

YA in Colloquial Language

In colloquial language the combinations of YA and HU are used to express basic and sometimes raw human emotions. In colloquial English, the combinations of YA and HU are used frequently. Examples are: Ya-hoo and Hoo-ya. Yahoo is the name of the well known Internet information services company. Some Jewish Americans use the expression Ha-ya to say hello. The American hello, Hi, is probably etymologically linked to HU-YA.

The use of Ya, Yaa, Yahu and its deformed version Yav in colloqial Turkish is probably the extreme case in Near-Eastern languages. These sounds are used in colloquial Turkish sometimes in every sentence. The acoustic root YA is deeply embedded in Turkish consciousness. The YA sound is certainly a sound archetype. It is almost instinctive.

YA in Country Names

It gets more interesting once you see the connection between the YA sound and the Greek io (Indo-European ea or ia). In Greek, io is pronounced as YA. North-western part of Asia Minor was known as Io-n-ia (pronounced Yanya, double emphasis on the YA sound). A Greek speaking civilization flourished there 5000 years ago. The city of Troy (Tro-ya) was the cultural center. The Hebrew name for Greece is Ya-van. Greece and Asia Minor (Anatol-ia) are closely associated with the YA sound archetype. It is even more interesting to see that the word “Earth” contains the root ea. The connection of the YA sound to life on Earth is so strong that in Turkish the word for Earth is Dünya, adding more evidence for this connection.

Many country names end with ia or ea. The ia is the English transliteration of the ea (YA) sound. English spelling of these country names are: Australia, Micronesia, Armenia, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Albania, Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Algeria, Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Nigeria, Somalia, Tunisia, Zambia, Bolivia, Colombia. The last but not the least, the country name Turkey is pronounced Turki-ya in most Near-Eastern languages. Turkish people pronounce it as Türkiye.

Father YA

In mythologies Ea (YA) is closely associated with the creator and protector of Earth. Gaia, pronounced Ga-Ya, which meant Earth in ancient Greek, was reintroduced and reinterpreted by James Lovelock to mean the living and conscious earth.

In speculative interpretations of Sumerian mythology, Ea is identified with the Sumerian god Enki. In Zecharia Sitchin’s books Enki is the extra-terrestrial being who helped our evolution on earth and can be considered humanity’s father. If true, this means YA was a flesh and blood being, perhaps very advanced spiritually as well, who oversaw our progress on earth for a long time. Out of tremendous respect for him, human beings deified him and used his name in everyday language. If I extend this line of thinking, perhaps his name is in our genes so to speak because he engineered our genes, as Sitchin argues. The idea of YA being a personality is intriguing. On the other hand it will be very difficult to find evidence for this hypothesis. I have to admit that the pervasive use of the YA sound in languages and the fact that YA is the suffix attached to many country names constitute strong evidence for the existence of a strong personality in the ancient past. There are many examples of historical personalities who were deified by later generations. Shiva and Tehuti were deified. The names Shiva and Tehuti came to represent concepts in Cosmology and aspects of Divinity.

YA is the name of the Creator in Gnostic scriptures. In this context YA refers to the creator of the physical universe. This shows that the concept of “father YA” overseeing humanity’s progress on earth was elevated to the concept of “father YA” the creator and overseer of the physical universe 2000 years ago.

YA in Hebrew Names

It is important to mention that in Hebrew, Arabic and Turkish a Jewish person is Yahudi (Ya-Hu-di). Yahudi means a person who believes in YA-HU.  Let’s mention some of the Hebrew names that start with YA. The meanings of these names make it clear that YA is one of the sacred sounds in Hebrew: Yadon (God will judge), Yan (God’s grace), Yanis (God’s gift), Yarin (to understand), Yaffa (beautiful), Yael (God’s strength), Yair (Enlighten), and many more. In fact, we can list many names that start with the YA sound in other languages as well.

YA and Sanskrit Iņa

In Sanskrit there is a nasalized “ya” sound. In Latin transcription it is spelled with the help of the phonetic symbol  “ņ” which is silent. The symbol “ņ” is included in the Latin transcription just to emphasize the nasalization. “Iņa” is the nasalized version of YA. In Sanskrit mantras the nasalized sounds are very important because of the effect of nasalization in the brain cavity. The nasalization applies a subtle pressure to certain parts of the brain creating an effect that helps with mind concentration.

The significance of the “Iņa” (YA) sound is revealed in the Sanskrit word jiņana (pronounced “gyana”). In Sanskrit jiņana means science.  The jiņana (“gyana”) acquires subtle changes in meaning in different contexts. For example Varna Vijiņana can be translated as “Science of Letters” or “Science of Language”. The Jiņana Yoga (“Gyana Joga”) is the effort towards Self-realization through discrimination and Intuitional Science.

YA and the Sanskrit Acoustic Root “A”

The phonology of Sanskrit is so developed that subtle differences in a given root sound represent subtly different aspects of the same referent. The YA sound archetype is also present in the Sanskrit acoustic root (biija mantra) “A”.  The Sanskrit “Iņa” is nasalized whereas the Sanskrit “A” is not. The “Iņa” is associated with concentration hence the connotation with the scientific endeavor. The acoustic root “A” is not nasalized and it is associated with the Creation.

The “A” sound being the first sound uttered by early humans represented the “beginning”. In the context of creation theories the root sound “A” represented the first act of creation. In the alphabets “A” is usually the first letter because of the same reason. The Latin “A” is Alpha in Greek, Alif in Arabic, Aleph in Hebrew and “A” in Sanskrit.

The YA sound seems to be a common acoustic root symbolizing the same sacred archetype in Indo-European family of languages (Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Hindi, Bengali, Farsi, Kurdish, and all European languages). The YA sound has the same significance in other language families as well (Turkish from the Turkic family and Semitic languages Hebrew and Arabic from the Afro-Asiatic family).

YA in Maya

Ma-ya is a familiar term from Hindu and Buddhist spiritual philosophy. We encounter once again the YA sound used in the context of Cosmic Creation. Shrii Shrii Anandamurti explains to us that Maya is the name for the non-equilibrium phase of Prakrti (Primordial Force or Operative Principle).

YA the Creative Principle

Shrii Shrii Anandamurti states that sound “A” is the acoustic root of Creation and it refers to the Creative Principle [2]. YA sound archetype and the acoustic root “A” are very closely associated. In the Near-Eastern cultures the YA archetype is also linked to the Creator.

[1] Suresh Emre, “Sound Archetypes

[2] Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, “The Acoustic Roots of the Indo-Aryan Alphabet”, Discourses on Tantra, Volume 1, Ananda Marga Publications, ISBN 81-7252-107-3

About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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