Return to "voilà" page.

Shouldn't prescriptivists be a linked word? 07:55, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

  • We don't normally wikilink words in the usage notes section - but there is nothing to stop you doing it. This is a wiki. SemperBlotto 08:03, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
  • As a much more active Wikipedian than Wictionarian, i've wanted for a long time to have occasion to say this:
    C'mon, Wiktionary is not an encyclopedia.
--Jerzyt 05:28, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

French meaningEdit

Je parle non pas de Francais! But a French-speaking hotelier said "Voilà" in my presence (i think as he completed his use of our credit card), and in answer to my question translated it in two words (i don't recall if punctuation seemed called for) which were "see" and "there" in that order. Shouldn't that dictate either our first definition of the French word, or a 2nd one introduced by "literally:"?
(BTW, that "la" is (via Hola) the origin of the last three letters of "Hello", which ultimately does mean something: to wit, "Hey there!"
--Jerzyt 05:28, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

That is only useful for the etymology. voilà derives from "vois-là", or "see there", but that is not the meaning of the word voilà, literally or otherwise. Defining voilà as "see there" would be like defining gospel as "good spell". That’s not what it means, it’s only the etymology. —Stephen 05:48, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Good point, and i support your approach to the entry.
    FWIW, tho, i'm not sure that the parallel is well chosen, bcz while some (a few or many?) native speakers know the concept "good news" was the thrust of the original (via Good News for Modern Man or Godspell?), there are few who would otherwise consider connecting either -spel or spell with "news". I struggle along in German well enuf to know Spiel, meaning both "game" (a form of activity) and "stage play", which feels like no help until i grab at the straw of modern English spiel or shpiel (meaning patter, esp. of a salesman or stand-up comedian), which ultimately is a cognate of German Spiel and/or spielen, "to play". But i think it'd be a false etymology, since my impression is that shpiel is a Yiddishism adopted by Americans in the last 2 centuries.
    I guess Americans, if pressed hard enough, could come up with "lo and behold" as a synonym for English use of voila, or with "So, I've amazed you now, haven't I!" as an explanation of the intent. To close a circle, i'll offer my observation that "Hello?" is a polite way of seeking the attention of a person presumed present but not seen, and pronouncing it "He-LUH-oh is currently a humorous way of saying "We both know you didn't mean what you just said; let's enjoy laughing about the oddness of the human brain", deriving that meaning from the similarly pronounced, very rude, way of saying "I don't think you're showing any sign of listening to -- let alone understanding -- what I've been saying", i.e., "Pay attention!" or "Look here! [... I'm not going to stand for your unresponsiveness.]"
    --Jerzyt 04:55, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
In spoken usage, voilà is often used to emphasise the completion of an action and/or to draw attention upon something near the speaker or the listener (maybe your credit card he was giving you back?)
I tried to explained those usages in the article; I just hope this is understandable as I'm not a native English speaker and often introduce French way of speaking into my English prose...
(« Je parle non pas de Français! »: "I am not talking about French (language)", but I guess you wanted to say that you don't speak French: « Je ne parle pas français ! » By the way, no capital to the language names in French, and exclamation marks need a space before them)
Thanks for the information linking Hello to Middle French Ho+Là: I always thought Hello came from the German roots of English (through Anglo-Saxon)
BlaF. 12:13, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks for correctly deducing the cause of my unaccustomed silence, and alerting me to something i'd forgotten about.
    *Sigh* And i thot i was doing so well just by using what i think of as a double negative! I might have anticipated from German the down-casing of adjectives derived from proper nouns, but not where (i assume, as in English and German) the adjective is turned back into a noun for the language. Or is français an adverb in this case - "speaking Frenchly", in effect?
    I really should make the effort re the cedilla, but i was permanently scarred (or at least confused) early in life by an ASCII table that reversed the names and/or positions of the accents grave et acute; i think i now actively try not to think about anything (like the cedilla!) that could encourage me to also think about them. (The good news is that the nasalized Polish vowels hook the other direction.) As to !, seems strange, but who's to say. I'm guessing the same is true for ? (oh, and i just finally noticed the spaces around the "pointy quotation marks"!), but not for periods and commas?
    Re your English, i'm making very minor corrections, not needed for comprehension, in the article: as Dick Cavett said to Sophia Loren about Marcello Mastroianni, "His English is just fine"; i'd be glad to explain any or all, if you ask, perhaps on your talk page. If you're looking for minor improvements here:
_ _ (oops, one more caught at what could have been my last read thru, but these are, hopefully, in the order you wrote them) "I tried to explained" seems (if its not an unfinished revision of "I explained") to show a desire to inflect each of the verbs of the clause in the same way, but the "finite"(?) verb "try" gets inflected to reflect the tense of the clause, and the infinitive "to explain" stays uninflected. I dunno; inflecting both may make sense, bcz it sounds like things i've heard from native-speaker kids who still working toward having made all the kinds of mistakes at least once;
_ _ "no capital to the language names" would use "for", "with", or "on" rather than "to" -- which just shows the perverse polymorphicity of our prepositions;
_ _ i can give a reason for "onto" rather than "upon": "onto" implies motion, and "upon" a state of being; i know German makes this more explicit, by having a set of pronouns (watch me take my own dare:
an, auf, hinter, in,
neben, unter, vor, und zwischen
whew, correct, but far too slow to satisfy my first German teacher) that impose dativ case on their object in the state-of-being usages, and accusativ in the motion ones; having said all that, there are a few (possibly archaic) expressions like "brought down upon his [own] head" where motion is implied.
_ _ the lack of an article before "French way" sounds very odd, even tho the distinction between "a French way" and "the French way" is barely interesting.
_ _ (I also stumble over "man in his entirety", which sounds more like a mistranslation from French than colloquial English, but the playwright is a native speaker and clearly meant to say that.)
And you're entitled (esp'ly since even my German is not strong enuf for me to worry about such details there) to treat my commenting on those as insolent rather than helpful. But i hope you'll read with the same sense of humor that i intend when i tell you that "emphasise" is a British spelling, rather than [wink] real English.
In any case, as to my attempts on (rather, intentionally and with a wink, than "at") French, i guess i forgot what one is supposed to learn on the playground: that showing off generally ends up making one look like a fool. Many thanks, i'm having a great time with this!
--Jerzyt 04:55, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Following is my reply to your comment regarding what I think is related to the voilà article, and on your talk page you can find my reply to the other points I think were not related:
    Samuel Beckett's quote: I was google-ing for quotations from French writers that includes "voilà" but one of the first entries I found was the translation of Beckett's quotation... I cannot tell if it is a correct English sentence (after all, he was an Irish writer who mostly lived in France and could have been influenced by us ;-) but all the references I found afterwards use this syntax.
    BlaF. 11:06, 15 July 2009 (UTC)


It may derive from vois but I don't think it can be called a verb, can it? Vois là isn't a verb either, it's verb form + pronoun. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:12, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

I don’t think it’s a verb. I’ve seen it labeled a preposition, but it can come at the end, so that does not fit well. It could be called an adverb, which is a catch-all term in English, or a particle. In some cases, it is clearly an interjection. Particle and interjection should cover it, in my opinion. —Stephen (Disc) 21:37, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
It is classified as a verb by TLFi. It can create a sentence and it can have clitic pronouns like nous y voilà. See also fr:voilà. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 10:19, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
We're not the TLFi. What evidence do they produce in support of their argument? --Mglovesfun (talk) 20:47, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
See the references in fr:voilà. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 08:43, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

English PronunciationEdit

I noticed the IPA for the UK pronunciation, but funny thing is, I have never in the 10 years I have lived in the UK (or Ireland for that matter) ever heard anyone pronounce it that way. The UK pronunciation should be exactly the same as the French pronunciation because residents of the UK (and Ireland too) clearly identify it as a French word. In the 8 or so schools I attended over the world the only "group" of native English speakers I have ever heard that seriously mispronounced the word was Americans; dropping the "v" to come up with "wallah". Obviously Canadians would never make this mistake.

Last modified on 19 July 2011, at 08:43