Is it a ‘bancake’ or a ‘pancake’? Arabic speakers explain IHOP name change

File photo showing fresh IHOp pancakes at a Dubai restaurant. (Photo courtesy: IHOp Facebook page)
Updated 10 June 2018
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Is it a ‘bancake’ or a ‘pancake’? Arabic speakers explain IHOP name change

LONDON: It’s a puzzle. Or should that be “buzzle”? After 60 years, the International House of Pancakes restaurant chain is changing its acronym from IHOP to IHOb. But they haven’t yet said why.
Cue widespread consternation — and quite a few jokes — all over the Twittersphere… except among pancake-loving Arabic speakers.
For them, this is old news. Arabic has no “p” sound, and speakers of the language usually substitute a “b.” In the Arab world, IHOP has been IHOB ever since the first pancake — sorry, bancake — house opened in Dubai in 2012.
IHOP announced the change (they called it “flipping” the name) on Monday but will not reveal the reason for it until June 11. In the meantime, Twitter has gone into hyper-buzz with tweeters of Arab background supplying most of the wit.
“Did an Arab person take over IHOP?” asked Fatima Syed, a reporter on the Toronto Star newspaper. “I ask as someone who for years was known as the girl from ‘Bakistan.’’’
Ala’a Ibrahim pointed out that Arabs also love to eat in Bizza Hut and Bopeyes, no doubt washing down their food with cans of Bebsi.

 

 

“My beoble have taken over IHOB so much, they changed the name to something we can bronounce!” tweeted Mohamed El Dahshan.
Breakfast and brunch are among the suggestions for what the “b” might stand for, along with the more fanciful broccoli, biscuits and even barnacles. IHOP’s popularity in the Middle East led one Twitter user to suggest that since “hob” means “love” in Arabic, therefore “Ihob= I love (pancakes).”
Hob also means the top of a stove, the hub of a wheel or male ferret — none of which seems pertinent, or even bertinent.
IHOP also joined in the fun, tweeting: “The blot thickens.”
When a tweeter named Patrick asked for an explanation, IHOP replied, “Batience, Batrick, batience!” and tweeted an audio guide “to helb you bronounce it broberly.”
The first IHOP in Dubai in 2012 was followed a year later by restaurants in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, then Bahrain and Lebanon in 2014.
From a business perspective, the name change makes little sense. The brand is well established and very well-known, sales are doing well and shares in parent company Dine Brands are up nearly 25 percent.
Changing the signs and menus at nearly 1,800 IHOP restaurants is expensive and risky. Studies have shown that brands which change their names typically experience an immediate 5 to 20 percent drop in sales.
IHOP’s only comment is a statement from Stephanie Peterson, the company’s executive director of communications, which said: “We’re serious about the quality of food and our menu, and this name change really reflects that.”
A search for IHob.com domain name reveals it is “data protected” and registered by someone with 123 Data Protected, Toronto as an address, and the email address [email protected] Emails sent there bounce back as undeliverable.
All of which could mean one of two things: IHOP have really flipped and this is either a blea for attention or a massive brank.

Decoder

Other words mispronounced in the Middle East

Lunch on the go at work might very well be a sandwich from ‘Bret-a-manger’. After a hard day, it is tempting to order in a ‘bizza’ and wash it down with a can of ‘Bebsi', and a ‘Benguin' chocolate bar for afters. If you overindulge, a couple of ‘Banadol' should ease any indigestion. Another reason for not going out is difficulty with ‘barking’ the car. Much nicer to stay home with a DVD and tub of ‘bobcorn’ and that is ‘berfect'. 


Two get life sentence in S.Africa ‘cannibalism case’

Updated 13 December 2018
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Two get life sentence in S.Africa ‘cannibalism case’

  • Police refused to believe his claims until he took them to a house where more body parts were found
JOHANNESBURG: Two South African men accused of cannibalism were given life sentences for murder on Wednesday, with the judge saying they were guilty of “the most heinous crime,” local media reported.
Sitting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, judge Peter Olsen sentenced Nino Mbatha, 33, and Lungisani Magubane, 32, to life in prison for the killing of Zanele Hlatshwayo last year, the Witness newspaper said.
Mbatha, a traditional healer, was arrested after handing himself in at a police station in Estcourt, a town in KwaZulu-Natal province.
He was carrying a bag containing a human leg and a hand, telling officers he was “tired of eating human flesh.”
Police refused to believe his claims until he took them to a house where more body parts were found.
A third man was acquitted on Wednesday. Seven people were initially arrested.
At earlier hearings in Estcourt, angry residents had gathered outside the courthouse to protest against the grisly murder.
South Africa has no direct law against cannibalism, but mutilating a corpse and being in possession of human tissue are criminal offenses.