Hebrew slang is rich in words used to express surprise and disbelief, often in a sarcastic way. One of the most common is the Arabic word for “No” – Laa (pronounced like the word “lack” without the “ck,” but usually drawn out for an extra beat). Its rough English equivalents are “No way,” “You don’t say,” or “Can’t be.” It is probably a favorite because it is so easy to say and gives the speaker some street cred.
- -You won’t believe it! I just aced my matriculation exam!
–Laa! You said you didn’t know the material!
- -Guess who I saw in Tel Aviv today! Your ex-boyfriend, Moishik!
–Laa! How did he look?
- -Look, you just got a tax refund!
–Laa! There’s no way. It must be a mistake.