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Chris -- 2018-04-11
I could hardly believe I didn’t see this on the eggcorn list: “walla” rather than “voila”
I hear it often and have even seen it written like this.
Also in family is “viola” rather than “voila”.
I finally found earlier references to it. I knew it had to be here somewhere.
“Commentary by Sharon , 2005/03/12 at 4:56 am”
Welcome to the forum, maybej.
“Walla” for “voila” has been contributed at least four times, making it one of the more popular suggestions. It was first brought up fairly early in the life of the Eggcorns Database, but I think it’s never made it in because its “eggcornicity” is in doubt. For a word to be an eggcorn, it has to make some kind of sense in its new context. “Wallah” is a word in English—meaning a person concerned with a certain kind of business, or sometimes a bureaucrat—but it’s hard to see how any of those meanings would work in the contexts in which people usually employ “voila.” I think it’s just a phonetic rendering of the way some English speakers pronounce “voila.”
Incidentally, the dictionaries generally give for “wallah” some variation of the definition that I provided above. But in the last 10 years I’ve noticed that people have been extending the meaning of “wallah” so that it now sometimes means “an expert in a given field.” This is such a natural development that some writers don’t even seem to realize that they’re extending the usual sense. Take for instance this citation:
In Bangla wallah is a person who does, it is a person employed in a certain capacity or connected with a certain thing or activity. For instance, a computer wallah is a computer expert.
http://bangladeshasiasdirtylittlesecret … adesh.html
Here the writer starts out giving the dictionary sense of the word, but then immediately applies it in its extended meaning. While it’s true that nearly everyone who’s a bona fide “computer expert” is connected to the computer business in some capacity and therefore a “computer wallah,” I can say definitively (having once lived in Silicon Valley for many years) that not everyone connected to the computer industry is a “computer expert.” Nevertheless, I think this meaning is widespread and it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes it to make its way into dictionaries.
Last edited by patschwieterman (2008-03-21 16:18:08)