Wahala: The Pidgin English Word, Meanings and Origins 

Pidgin English is a languge spoken predominantly in West Africa. It is popular among English speaking countries in W/Africa namely: Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

The language is a blend of the English Language and local West African Languages including Hausa, Akan, Ibo, Yoruba, Mande, etc. 

Let’s examine one pidgin English word, “wahala” it’s meanings, origins and contexts of usage. 

Wahala: (means trouble or problem) It is a Pignin English word that literally means ‘trouble.’ or ‘problem. ‘
Origins: Yoruba

  • Wahala dey – There is trouble. 
  • I go show you wahala – I will trouble you or I will give you problem. 
  • Which kin wahala be dis?  – What sort of trouble is this? 

Nigerian Popular culture:

“Wahala” has become become acceptable in Nigeria’s pop culture. It has featured in music, eg: “Wahala Dey” was the title of a popular music track by P-Aquare. Also in Nollywood movies and recently “Double Wahala” was used as a theme for the Big Brother Naija reality TV show. 


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