Feb 16 2018

Belgian professor becomes Turkish sensation

A Belgian academic has become a social media sensation in Turkey thanks to a name – Bence Nanay – that is absurdly ironic for a professor of philosophy when read in Turkish.

“Bence nanay” in Turkish translates roughly to “in my opinion, it’s nothing”, or “in my opinion, it’s a waste of time,” with “nanay” a difficult to translate, rather dismissive slang term.

The Belgian professor, a researcher at the universities of Cambridge and Antwerp, responded amiably to the buzz around his name with a tweet:


Turkish users responded to Nanay’s tweets with marriage proposals; “I want my last name to be Nanay,” said one.

A Turkish newspaper, HaberTürk, interviewed the Belgian professor, who said, “I have had a lot of Turkish friends in the past, and they told me my name was funny in Turkish, but everyone translated it differently. At the very least, I can understand why it is funny.”