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CHAT: Gadhafi (was: silly phonology etc.)

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Thursday, November 30, 2000, 19:02
Mangiat wrote:

> > Elsewhere, too, apparently: Mu'ammar Qadhdhafi's name once appeared at the > > bottom of a letter (in English) as "Gadhafi". > > Who is this? Is he the president of Libia? That, at least in Italy, is named > Gheddafi /ged'dafi/.
Just so. His name begins with a qaf, and so the transliteration "Qaddafi" (or when being exact, "Qadhdhafi") was usual. There are lots of other variants, including the bizarre "Khadafy". Then some American school children wrote him a letter, and he replied in English, signing his name "Gadhafi". So then that was adopted as the preferred transliteration. After all, a man's name (even in an alien alphabet) should be what he says it is. At present, Google finds 41,000 references to "Gadhafi", and only 6100 references to "Qaddafi". "Khadafy" gets a mere 2200, and some of these may be to someone else. A list of alternatives used as a test of the "grep" program appears at , and a regular expression which catches most or all of these can be found at .../khadafy.regexp . Finally, Cecil Adams gives us the straight dope at , including his official *title*, which is not "President" or anything like it. Check it out, I'm not telling. -- There is / one art || John Cowan <jcowan@...> no more / no less || to do / all things || with art- / lessness \\ -- Piet Hein