The popular smartphone messaging app WhatsApp has inspired a new word in the Dutch dictionary. Whatsappen, a verb meaning to send an electronic message, will be included in the online Van Dalen dictionary from October.
I know that WhatsApp is very popular and is constantly at the top of the iTunes charts, but I must confess to being slightly surprised at its Dutch popularity. I have never come across anybody telling me they are using it, and I have certainly never heard anybody drop it into conversation in a generic Googling type way. So I suspect this may be a development in the Dutch language that we will not be seeing replicated in English any time soon. It has also been quite fun reading the Dutch coverage using Google instant traslation, as Whatsappen translates somewhat bizarrely as ‘What Juices’.
I also wonder whether other popular apps will start to find their way into the dictionary. After all, causing rampant carnage may sound less offensive if people simply say they were ‘Angry Birdsing’.