During the typhoon season, you hear たいふうでダイヤがみだれた a lot on television. If you hear it often enough, you would know that that means the typhoon caused a havoc in the transport schedule but what does ダイヤ mean? How do you write it in English?

ダイヤ is the shortened form for ダイヤグラム, which in English written as “diagram” – a graphical schedule for operating railway stock to provide a desired service (from Oxford English Dictionary). So originally ダイヤ was supposed to be used for trains only but in Japan people say 空のダイヤ to mean flight schedules as well.
I hope there won’t be more fierce typhoons to cause havoc!
By the way, when it’s not shortened, these days “diagram” is often transliterated as ダイグラム instead of ダイグラム and ダイグラム sounds more true to the original English word. The reason ヤ has been used is that in the past Japanese people didn’t like having after an “-I sounding letter (キ、シ, etc.)” and they often substituted with . My Katakana Learning Modules covers these kinds of variations and shows more examples like this. 

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