CHAT: Gadhafi (was: silly phonology etc.)
|From:||John Cowan <jcowan@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, November 30, 2000, 19:02|
> > 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
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_264b.html , 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 || http://www.reutershealth.com
to do / all things || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
with art- / lessness \\ -- Piet Hein