David Iannucci linguist at PUNCHCUTTER.ML1.NET
Thu Dec 5 23:44:48 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.

  That would be a uvular stop (voiceless), and if I'm not mistaken 'q' is
  even the IPA symbol for this sound.

> It is also sometimes transliterated as "g" as it
> Kaddafi/Qaddafi/Gaddafi.

  Just wild speculation here, but I suspect that this sound, in spite of
  being voiceless, is often heard and transliterated as 'g' by English
  speakers because it is not aspirated, as 'k' would always be
  word-initially in English.


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