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How to say: O. Obasanjo

Host Host | 11:30 UK time, Friday, 11 August 2006

A guide to words and names in the news, from Martha Figueroa-Clark of the BBC Pronunciation Unit.

"Today's pronunciation is Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

"Our recommendation is ol-OO-sheg-uu(ng) ob-ASS-an-joh (-ol as in 'olive', -g as in 'get', -j as in 'Jack'), following consultation with the BBC Hausa Section."

(Click here for a guide to phonetic pronunciations (PDF).)


  • 1.
  • At 12:38 PM on 11 Aug 2006,
  • Craig wrote:

Its all a little bit academic dont you think?

Yes. But how do you pronounce "Figueroa-Clark "

  • 3.
  • At 01:55 PM on 12 Aug 2006,
  • Oj wrote:

Not wanting to split hairs , but the Hausa service isn't the best place to consult on how to pronounce a Yoruba name. There are thousands of Yoruba living and working in London, and I'm sure if you checked, you'd even find some working at the BBC!

And as to whether it was academic or not, I bet Craig and Ian would be surprised if a major foreign broadcaster regularly mispronounced the names of leading English public figures

  • 4.
  • At 11:05 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • David Marjanović wrote:

Strange. I saw him taking his oath of office on TV, and I remember hearing s, not sh, and the stress on the last syllable in both words. But maybe I confused stress and tone...

  • 5.
  • At 10:24 AM on 27 Oct 2006,
  • Toye wrote:

Funny bizzare, the Hausa service is definitely NOT the place to learn pronounciation of Yoruba names - phonetics are totally different. In same way as cockneys and glaswegians do not pronounce alike! C'mon Beeb - like Oj says, talk to your staff with Yoruba heritage & they'll come up with the goods!

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