Whoever Picked Qadhdhafi, Give Your Head A Shake
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February 28, 2011, 04:30 PM
Print Friendly and PDF sees no need for consistency in spelling the name of Libyan Moammar al-whatshisname, because he never did himself.

Language Log:

Gadafi, Gadaffi,   Gaddafi,   Gaddaffi,   Gadhafi, Gadhaffi,   Ghadafi, Ghadaffi, Ghaddafi, Ghaddaffi,   Ghadhafi, Ghadhaffi, Kadafi, Kadaffi, Kaddafi,     Kadhafi,   Khadafi, Khaddafi, Khaddaffi, Khadhafi, Khadhaffi, Qadafi, Qadaffi, Qaddafi, Qaddaffi, Qadhafi, Qadhaffi, Qadhdhafi, Qathafi,  I give up.

The last hold-out for the Elizabethan approach to spelling. One of the few reasons that he`ll be missed.

The Economist, whose style book does insist on using the spelling Muammar Qaddafi explains why:

If forced to pick, I`d say Qaddhafi represents the Arabic spelling pretty well, and Gaddafi represents the Libyan pronunciation pretty well.   (The "al-" is optional.   It`s always used in Arabic but frequently left out in English. The Economist`s style book recommends leaving it out in most names.)   Our "Qaddafi" is a bit of a hybrid, but it`s not the worst.   Stay away from the k`s and kh`s, though, in any case.   Those sounds do exist in Arabic, but not in the name Qaddafi.

A Qaddafi by any other name would still be a bloodthirsty dictator

I think the UN should step in and force the next dictator of   Libya to pick a spelling and stick to it.