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August 29, 2007


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I've definitely seen "Wallah!" and wailed; the best [worst?] I have seen is "It's a doggy dog world." This link shows I'm not the first to spot it: http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/mispron.html.

Dear Nance,
I believe when people say/write wallah, it's a kind of interjection or exclamation. They are not meaning it in the Hindi sense (as in "word wallah," which is what you are), but rather are coming from the Arabic. There are those who say that the French violà is indeed a borrowing from Arabic. Not all that surprising. Hebrew speakers use this borrowing all the time, and they *do* know that it's Arabic.
No intention to provoke, just to provoke thinking about this puzzle.Y

Dan--I'd be curious to know who says "voilà" is borrowed from Arabic; when I studied French I learned it was a contraction of "vois là": "see there." As for the Hebrew expression, it's pronounced differently -- Ya Allah! -- with a glottal stop between the words. And yes, that one *is* a borrowing from Arabic.

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