I have heard a lot of conversations end up in the word "na" mainly among in youth of India. For example:

You know naa.

You have phone naa.

Does this make any sense? Is it a development in Indian English?

  • 1
    I thought it was Hindi for "yes, OK, uhuh"; it's just a filler. Unfortunately our Gujarati/Hindi-speaker isn't in today to ask.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 17, 2013 at 12:35
  • 1
    Note that “Is its too a development in the Indian English?” fails to qualify as Standard English in at least three different ways.
    – tchrist
    Apr 17, 2013 at 12:40
  • Is it naa or na? I haven't heard it (on the other hand, I've only heard Indian English spoken in SE Asia and the USA), but if it does mean some kind of 'yes', then it's be appropriate for a verification tag, like English yes?, OK?, eh?. Malay has a bunch of focus particles (lah, pun) that can be scattered through a sentence to mark the important words, but they have no other functions or meanings. Apr 17, 2013 at 14:21
  • 2
    @JohnLawler Sounds a lot like a “, no?” tag-question to me, ¿verdad?
    – tchrist
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:42
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    In fact I have only seen "na" used by people who are not too proficient in English and hence not that confident while speaking. This "na" goes to give them some sort of self-assurance that whatever they are speaking is making sense to the listener.
    – Mohit
    Apr 17, 2013 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


It think such words are the easy short-cut way to turn a sentence into a question without much words and puts the other person under the obligation of responding to it, with 'yeah' or something like it. Sri Lankans, on the other hand, attach the word 'no' to the end of their sentences. Depending on the tone in which it is said, it can mean the English equivalent of 'isn't it?' again eliciting a 'yes' from the one to whom it is said like in the sentence, 'This movie is boring no?' or it can mean 'will you' in the sentence 'Tell your brother to come no!".

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