Everything Language and Grammar

Voila!

Posted by languageandgrammar on March 6, 2009

Yo no hable frances (and my Spanish is kind of rusty, too), but if I did, I would be even more annoyed with how many times I’ve heard the word voila butchered by Americans.

It’s not Wa La or Walla or even Whaa-la. It doesn’t sound like Walla Walla, Washington. There’s not a W to be seen–it’s voila, with a v, but there IS a w sound–after the v. It’s pronounced like a vw, vwoila.

Speaking of v’s, when I hear walla or voila exclaimed when a pizza is pulled from an oven, a report  is turned in, or a television is turned on, I want to vamoose. Think of another, less trite way to express excitement over mundane activities–or better yet, save the excitement for exciting events.

If there’s one way to never be taken seriously, it’s by making everything sound dramatic.

–Paul

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2 Responses to “Voila!”

  1. Let’s add awesome to the list of over used expressions. (I’m working on it- picked up a bad habit.)

    Reply: Great addition/

  2. Paul,

    I just came across your post about “voilà” and wanted to join in expressing my annoyance with the way many non-French speakers pronounce this word.

    Another common French phrase that non-French speakers seem to butcher is “au revoir.” They give it the same dramatic “voilà” pronunciation, and it becomes “oh vwa’” (instead of “ōr(-ə)-vwȧr,” losing its “r” sounds and a couple other things along the way.

    While I love languages, and I admire people who can speak more than one language, there’s something pretentious about trying to speaking a language we don’t know – especially French. N’est-ce pas?

    By the way, I know my own French accent is not perfect, but I did major in French (and English) in college. 🙂

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