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I know that we say にっぽん instead of にほん when we want to inject a little national pride into the word, but I've never had a good understanding of the difference in meaning/nuance/usage between やはり and やっぱり.

I would guess that there is some variation in some combination of politeness, formality, familiarity etc, but I haven't had enough experiences with them to pin down where they sits on that graph.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

やっぱり「矢っ張り」 is a bit stronger in sense than やはり「矢張り」, but most of the time, it is a personal preference.

There are some more versions of やはり like

やっぱし、やっぺし、やっぴし、and also やっぱ is widely used.

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Wasn't aware of the stronger sense. That would make sense why I don't hear やっぱり used to superiors. – makdad Jun 2 '11 at 13:09
「やっぺし」「やっぴし」って・・・? 若者言葉ですか、それとも方言ですかね・・・。 – chocolate Feb 14 at 5:46
やっぴしは近世語のようです。やっぺしは東北方言(?)‌​で、たぶんこれは「やるべし」の転なので、どちらも意味が違うと思いますね。 – broccoli forest Feb 15 at 9:04

やはり is more formal (e.g. appropriate for superiors & business). People say やっぱり all the time, including in business.

Written scholarly works would most certainly use やはり. Shibuya gals would most certainly use やっぱり. There's a wide range in between.

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+1 During very formal speeches, for instance at conferences, the speaker does not use やっぱり, always やはり. – Nicolas Raoul Jun 3 '11 at 1:50

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