Saturday, 24 September 2016
The word "yalla" has crept into the Norwegian language years ago. We talk about "yalla stuff", "yalla stores", etc. It is a negatively loaded word in Norwegian and it is obvious that it is connected to immigrants and can be racist in its use. I have never given it much thought untill resently as I now work with arabic speaking children who use this word all the time. When I asked them what it means they say it means "come" - completely different from the meaning it has been given in Norwegian. According to the dictionary it means: "come on" "hurry up". During lunchbreak one day we talked about this and many of my colleagues where surprised to hear the real meaning of the word. How can such a simple, kind word from its origin be turned into such a negative word in a different language?
I have done some research and I have found out that "Yalla" has not got a place in the Norwegian dictionary - yet. Thankfully - in my opinion. But it shows how something can spread and be given meaning through thoughtlessness and prejudice.