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Yallah is one of the favorite words of native Arabic speakers and language learners alike. And that’s for a good reason. Yallah is super easy to pronounce and can be said in many different situations.
What does yallah mean, and how to use it correctly? In this article, I’ll tell you all about this beautiful word and when to use it.
Yallah (يلا) is an Arabic word widely understood and used by all nationalities across the Middle East. Yallah means let’s, hurry up, come on or okay, depending on the context.
Yallah (also spelled yalla) is mostly used in colloquial situations in spoken language. You don’t see it a lot in writing or in a very formal context.
Let’s have a look at the meaning of yallah depending on the situation, along with some examples.
The best translation for yalla is let’s / come on. In this context, the Arabic yallah is used the same way as the English expressions let’s or come on. You can use yallah if you want something to happen. For instance, to motivate someone to take action. Yallah let’s go outside, yallah eat your food, yallah start your homework.
By the way, you’ll often hear yallah in combination with habibi (yallah habibi). Habibi is another Arabic slang word. Yalla habibi translates to let’s go my friend or darling. You can hear it in countless Arabic songs, movies and conversations among Arabs.
Another meaning of yallah is hurry up. If you’re familiar with Arab culture, you’ll surely know that Arabs are not the most punctual people in the world. As such, yallah is used a lot in this context. If you have agreed to meet your friend at the park at 8 a.m. but he’s still in bed, you can tell him yallah, hurry up.
A third meaning of yallah is okay. Note however, that it really depends on the context. There are various ways to say okay in Arabic, and yallah is one of them. Usually people use yallah to agree to something after a discussion. Yallah I’ll do it, yallah (I agree with your offer).
Yallah vs. Ya Allah
The word yallah consists of two parts: ya and allah. The particle ya translates to “oh”, and allah to God. However, yallah isn’t a religious word at all. It’s a slang word used by any Arab speaker regardless of their religion. Thats said, it does not mean “oh God”!
The Arabic equivalent to the English oh God is ya allah (يا الله). Yes, that’s quite similar to yallah, but both expressions have different meanings. Furthermore, they are also pronounced differently. Yallah is pronounced as one word, while ya allah is pronounced as two words.
Yallah in Arabic Writing
Yallah (yalla) in Arabic writing is يلا.
Below is a summary of the expressions used in this article and their English equivalent. The Latin script can help you with the pronunciation if you can’t read Arabic. Learning the Arabic alphabet will greatly help you with the correct pronunciation of Arabic words.
|English Equivalent||Arabic (Latin Script)||Arabic (Arabic Script)|
|Let’s, come on, hurry up, okay||Yallah, yalla||يلا|
|Oh god||Ya allah||يا الله|
|Let’s go my friend / darling||Yalla habibi||یلا حبیبي|
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