We’ve been having this discussion in the office for a while now, and since this beloved meme is getting more and more press coverage with the creation and subsequent hacking of the dogecoin, it’s only becoming more and more of an issue. How exactly do you say “doge?”
From what we can tell, there are five major variants that have been floating around our collective meatspaces. First there’s “Doh-j” with a long O, a soft G and a silent E. This pronunciation is widely believed to have originated with a Tumblr user who submitted a computer-read audio file of a “chose your own adventure” to a site called “Your Daily Doge,” though it’s also been attributed to a 2005 puppet episode of Homestar Runner, in which Homestar misspells “dog” as D-O-G-E and Strongbad corrects him.
However, it’s also the same way that one pronounces the name of the chief magistrate of Venice, so it’s entirely possible that this pronunciation just feels older and more secure to the people who use it. In the interest of full disclosure, this is my preferred pronunciation, probably because I’m also the type of person who uses a soft G in GIF. So take from that what you will.
If you’re a hard-G GIF pronouncer, there’s also the alternate form of the same basic structure above, which is “Doh-g” with a long O, hard G and silent E. My brother uses this, and when I asked him about it, he said that it’s because the original word “dog” has a hard G, so the e only modifies the vowel, not the consonant — sort of like how “slop” becomes “slope” and “mop” becomes “mope.” So “dog” becomes “doge,” which is pronounced like “rogue.”
Then there’s “Doh-geh,” with a long O, hard G, and spoken “e” sound like at the end of “ballet.” This is a pronunciation preferred by Susana Polo over at The Mary Sue, who explains that she uses it because it sort of sounds like a bastardized version of “doggy.” According to other sources, because the meme’s origins are supposedly based in Weeaboo culture (which, if you’re not familiar, is when White North American kids get really creepily obsessed with a stereotype of Japanese culture), it’s meant to be pronounced as if it were written in Japanese.
Finally, we have people who pronounce it like “dog” or “doggy.” These people are boring. Let us speak no more of them.
It might seem a bit ridiculous to be debating over the pronunciation of a totally made-up word that has nothing to do with anything, but as we said earlier, the invention of the dogecoin and the current fascination over cryptocurrency in general is causing this meme to be elevated up much higher into the zeitgeist than anybody on Tumblr could possibly have anticipated. In fact, just this morning we heard pundits on NPR talking about the proper pronunciation of the word. (We can’t recall which they settled on, but they were definitely oscillating between all the ones we’ve described) And even Congress is getting worked up over it now.
It’s only a matter of time before this discussion becomes an all out war in the style of GIF vs. JIF, and then we’ll have to wait around for somebody to invent a Jeopardy answer about it, and that could take years. So let’s see if we can’t come to some consensus here before that happens.
Help us out — how do you all pronounce it? Take our poll, and we’ll see which is currently most popular.
(via Know Your Meme)
- Dogecoin was recently hacked
- Which is pretty silly, because it’s a DOGEcoin
- Here are our very favorite doge meme examples