Many times I heard/read an archaic form of giving thanks to somebody かたじけない modified to かたじけなや. I also think I heard ありがたや quite a lot.

What exactly does this や at the end (is it regional, emphatic, or else?) and how does it sound to a native speakers' ears?

  • Not quite "emphatic" but kinda close. Think of another word starting with an 'e'. That was too much of a hint. – l'électeur Sep 22 '15 at 7:10
  • I would appreciate some more examples of Japanese expressions using this particular や if they existed... – macraf Sep 22 '15 at 7:18
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    他には「おそろしや」「うらめしや」とか・・・? – Chocolate Sep 23 '15 at 5:55

This や is an old 終助詞 which is described here. It's probably similar to the English exclamation mark, or "Oh/O" seen in verses and lyrics. Basically it is only found in old Japanese and haiku. (や used in Kansai-ben is different from this, I think)

In modern Japanese usage, ありがたや sounds archaic as compared to ありがたい. It sounds as if you were jokingly simulating a person in the past who is faithfully worshiping Japanese 神 and 仏. Or it sounds like you were thanking for something in an exaggerated manner, as if you saw a miracle of God.

A typical usage of ありがたや can be found in this page introducing a VPN router. The men in the picture are worshiping the almighty router!


Don't use it in formal situations, because ありがたや is usually used jokingly like this.

I think かたじけない is already an archaic, samurai-like wording, and people use it only as a joke today. So I see very little difference between かたじけなや and かたじけない. Theoretically though, the former is more emphatic.

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