The story of YE (English caption)
The origins of the character started with that of the snake. The greedy and vicious snake swallowed up everything that came its way.
As the character of “snake” evolved, it continued to illustrate the snake’s belly full of swallowed food but it gradually lost its original meaning.
In classical Chinese, it is mostly used as a particle, such as in 之乎者也.
In the present day, 也 is mostly used as an adverb, such as 也是, meaning “also”, or 也許, meaning “perhaps”.
Although 也 is not a radical itself, it is a common component of many Chinese characters. A few of them are so often used that they are taught in book 1 of Beginning Reader of the Basic Chinese 500 course.
Apart from the character 也 on its own, there are:
人+也 => 他 /tā/ (he)
女+也 => 她 /tā/ (she)
土+也 => 地 /dì/ (the earth, or the ground)
水+也 => 池 /chí/ (a pond)
馬+也 => 馳 /chí/ (to gallop)
弓+也 => 弛 /chí/ (to relax)