November 22, 2019

Google as "goggle" and WhatsApp as "WhatsUp": Illiterate Pronunciations in Nigeria

Google as "goggle" and WhatsApp as "WhatsUp": Illiterate Pronunciations in Nigeria

Why do Nigerians, including educated Nigerians, pronounce Google as "goggle" and WhatsApp as "WhatsUp"?

As I pointed out in my 2015 book titled Glocal English: The Changing Face and Forms of Nigerian English in a Global World, two "O's" either make the /ʊ/ or /u:/ sound; that's why we pronounce book as "buk," good as "gud," hood as "hud," soon as "suun" etc. What explains the choice of Nigerians to pronounce Google as "goggle," which, among other things, means to look stupidly? I'm sorry, but people sound really stupid and illiterate when they call Google "goggle."

And WhatsApp as "WhatsUP"? What's up with that? Who comes up with these grating, uneducated pronunciational habits in Nigeria? Since Nigerians don't call phone apps "ups," why do they call WhatsApp "WhatsUP"?

Yes, the inventors of WhatsApp were clearly creatively playing on the informal American English expression "what's up?" (i.e., "how are you?") in the choice of the name for the app, but the name clearly has "app," not "up," in it.

Nigerians are the only people in the whole world who call WhatsApp "whatsUp." Did people miss the letter "a" in the name of the app? What sort of mass carelessness is that? Who did this to us? Before anyone says it's about differences in accents, this isn't an accent issue. It's simply carelessness. What's difficult in saying "whatsApp" and "Guugul?

© Farooq Kperogi

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  1. This is very interesting. I always notice the pronunciation when people say, what'sup instead of WhatsApp. Well done and keep up the good work. I'm Ayomide Michael, the author of CRN, https://clicksamplenote.com.ng

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