/I/raq, /aI/raq, /a/raq and /schwa/raq

Billionbridges.com translation at BILLIONBRIDGES.COM
Thu Mar 20 05:34:39 UTC 2003

The newscasters say /I/raq, as do the dictionaries. The generals
they interview, however, say /aI/raq. But the Iraqis at my local
kebab and "slice 'o' pizza" shops say either /a/raq or /schwa/raq.
Naturally, the Iraqis trill their r's.

1. Where did /aI/raq come from? Or is this vowel shift merely
of a kind with /aI/talian?

2. Do some Britons shift it as well? Who?

3. If Arabia begins with an a in English, why not Iraq? Or am I
way off base here, mishearing an equivalence in the first vowels
of the two words as pronounced by Iraqis and other people from
the Middle East?


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