Thom Harrison THarriso at MAIL.MACONSTATE.EDU
Wed Dec 4 14:51:42 UTC 2002

My understanding is that the "q" spelling of Arabic words is used for a
velar stop that is farther back than the one that occurs in English and is
not phonetically conditioned, as is the English "k" sound.  It is also
sometimes transliterated as "g" as it Kaddafi/Qaddafi/Gaddafi.

I'm no authority, but I have been coached by some Arabs.

Thom Harrison

-----Original Message-----
From: James Smith [mailto:jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2002 9:13 AM
Subject: Re: Falaqa

More generic than just "falaqa", actually.  Why do we
use "q" instead of "k" in rendering Arabic into
English?  Why Qatar, which I've heard pronounced on
the BBC news as more like "gutar" or even "gutter",
instead of Katar?  The sound in Arabic is presumably
distinct from the English "k" sound, but it usually
becomes simply "k" in English, whether the "q" or "k"
is used to represent it.  If it's closer to "g" than
"k", why not use the "g"?  Why this seeming
affectation for "q" in English rendering or borrowing
of Arabic?

James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
South SLC, UT                  |it is that we will be sued
jsmithjamessmith at yahoo.com     |whether we act quickly and decisively
                               |or slowly and cautiously.

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