Friday, 13 June 2014

Walla Walla and Wallah-wallah: The Way That Languages Change

Attention particularly to my friends in South-Eastern Washington state: wallah-wallah has entered French in Montreal!

I'm the third generation of my family to be born in the small city of Walla Walla, and I burst out laughing yesterday when on Radio Canada reported that wallah-wallah has become part of teenage language in French-speaking parts of Montreal. The word comes from the Arab for "in the name of God", or O Allah, and has become, apparently, a non-pejorative term from someone of Middle-Eastern descent. Sweet revenge for me, who has endured chuckles from the unintiated every time I must say where I was born.

Walla Walla, the town, gets its name from the Native American on for the place, meaning "many waters." The photo, taken last summer, gives a taste of the streams that run through it. And here's the link to the Radio Can report.

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