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Chris -- 2018-04-11
As in, “be sure to beat the eggs thoroughly before you add them to the pan, and wallah! Your omelette will be perfect!”
My 6 year old daughter clearly pronounces voila as wallah. She pronounces other v-words with a v, so she must have picked it up from one of her friends.
Another of my pet peeves!! If you are going to try to look smart by using a foreign word or phrase, at least use the correct word/phrase and pronounce it properly. Grrrr….
In modern Hebrew, “Wallah” is a common exclamation of surprise, delight or ascertion. Rubik Rosenthal’s excellent slang dictionary gives 5 distinguishable usages for “Wallah”, and the likely etymology: “Wallah” probably entered from Arabic, in which it is a common phrase in oaths: “wa” + “allah” = “and Allah”
While I wouldn’t expect your 6 year old to be familiar with modern Hebrew or Arabic, the thing about “wallah” is that you don’t actually have to undertand it in order to get the meaning. It’s the sort of (onomatopeic?) utterance that conveys surprise and delight by virtue of intonation alone, like “ow”, “oy” etc. I could definitely imagine Hebrew speakers peppering their English with “wallah” without feeling the need to explain.
Last edited by gilibug (2007-02-21 05:50:44)
in punjabi an wxpression balley balley exists for showing surprise and encouragement and happiness after witnessing or hearing of something that arouses wonder. could this be the wallah, voila?
“Voilà” > “wallah” is becoming increasingly common, I think. My first sighting was about 1994, in a note from a friend. At the time I dismissed it as idiosyncratic, but lately I’ve been seeing it (usually as “wha-la” or “whalla”) quite a lot.
My best guess on the v > w change is that the w in the French ([vwala]) weakens the v to the point where it may be more like a beta, and then the process continues to drop the v entirely. Analogy with words like “wow” and “wham” also may be involved.
Last edited by marnen (2006-12-21 14:08:01)