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I started playing another old game, Game Boy Wars Advance 2, and I ran across this bit of dialogue:

ま、どのみち、マクロランドに行きゃあ
いやでも戦わなきゃなんねえんだ。

I think this is something like:

ま、どのみち、マクロランドに行けば
いやでも戦わなければならないのだ。

Thanks to a helpful comment by Tsuyoshi Ito, I learned that おけば can be contracted to おきゃ. More generally, I learned that e + ば can be contracted to (small や). Based on this rule, I'm guessing that 行きゃ is a contraction of 行けば.

Of course, the dialogue I quoted says 行きゃあ, not 行きゃ. My guess is that e + ば can also be contracted to ゃあ, and based on this I guess that both 行きゃあ and 行きゃ are contracted forms of 行けば. Is this correct?

(My other guess is that perhaps it's 行ければ...?)

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The extra あ only comes from lengthening the きゃ and could equally well have been written 行きゃ~. Just in the middle of the sentence it looks better as 行きゃあ.

The sound is lengthened, because there is a small break when saying the sentence. For example, in

行きゃいいじゃねぇか
Why don't you go?

a lengthening wouldn't be natural.

I presume if you really want, 行ければ can also be contracted to 行きゃ, but 行けりゃ probably works better.

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  • Do you think the same thing about ちゃ and ちゃあ? In that case, I thought the あ was the uncontracted /a/ from は, but I just realized the dictionary doesn't say which it is.
    – user1478
    Mar 31, 2013 at 3:54
  • Oh, definitely. Whether you want ちゃ or ちゃあ only depends on the position in the sentence, not so much on the meaning. In both cases ては becomes ちゃ and あ is only added for lengthening, if natural in the flow of the sentence.
    – Earthliŋ
    Mar 31, 2013 at 3:58
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    I found a post by Bart Mathias about ちゃあ and ちゃ groups.google.com/group/sci.lang.japan/msg/a276c9c0c4e5a8e1
    – user1478
    May 10, 2013 at 12:19

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