q as a velar fricative?

A. Maberry maberry at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Wed Nov 7 17:08:42 UTC 2001

To the best of my knowledge, the q of al-Qa'idah is not pronounced as a
"kh" by any speaker of modern standard Arabic. The beginning consonant of
Khomeini is a fricative kh sound, the beginning consonant of Qaidah is "a
strongly articulated gutteral k; but in parts of Arabia and throughout
North Africa, it is pronounced as a hard g; whilst in Cairo and some parts
of Syria it is vulgarly confounded with alif" [which would yield the
pronunciation al-A'idah--ed.] (Wright. Grammar of the Arabic Language).

I don't know where Safire got his information, but it certainly  seems to
be incorrect.

maberry at u.washington.edu

On Wed, 7 Nov 2001 hstahlke at ATT.NET wrote:

> In his 11/4 column, William Safire says that the <q> of
> Al Qaida "represents a fricative kh sound."  He compares
> it to the <kh> in Khomeini, and adds
> that "correspondents who have worked in Arabic-speaking
> countries use the palate-clearing sound of kh."  Does he
> know something my Arab students and speakers like Edward
> Said don't know, or does he not know about voiceless
> uvular stops?
> Herb Stahlke
> Ball State University

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