90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
How Do You Spell “mʿmr alqḏāfī”?

(AP)

Big questions surround the future of Libya and its capricious leader, Muammar Qaddafi. Here’s a smaller one: how do you spell his name? At On Point, “Muammar Qaddafi” is standard, but other media outlets have their own interpretations. NPR prefers “Moammar Gadhafi,” while the New York Times prints it as “Muammar el-Qaddafi.” At Al Jazeera, you’ll find “Muammar Gaddafi.” This 2001 article from Slate explains how one Arabic name can have so many versions:

…Rendering a language from another alphabet (or from a pictographic system such as Chinese) into the Latin alphabet is called Romanization.

A variety of systems exist to Romanize Arabic letters and words, but there is no dominant one. The International Journal of Middle East Studies offers one system, the Library of Congress a slightly different one. And not all publications consistently follow one system, either. Historical tradition for a particular place or name can win out, and so can personal preference…

You can find more of On Point‘s coverage of Libya and Muammar Qaddafi here, the revolution in Egypt here, and US policy in the Arab world here. Also, check out this lengthier list of ways the faltering dictator’s name may appear.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 17, 2015
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio waves to supporters as his wife Jeanette joins him on stage, after he announced that he will be running for the Republican presidential nomination, during a rally at the Freedom Tower, Monday, April 13, 2015, in Miami. (AP)

Hillary and Rubio, in for 2016. Congress, in on the Iran Deal. And a Gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Apr 17, 2015
The members of all-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache (Courtesy the Artist).

An all-female band takes mariachi to old places and new. We’ll talk with the women of Flor de Toloache.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 17, 2015
The members of all-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache (Courtesy the Artist).

An all-female band takes mariachi to old places and new. We’ll talk with the women of Flor de Toloache.

 
Apr 17, 2015
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio waves to supporters as his wife Jeanette joins him on stage, after he announced that he will be running for the Republican presidential nomination, during a rally at the Freedom Tower, Monday, April 13, 2015, in Miami. (AP)

Hillary and Rubio, in for 2016. Congress, in on the Iran Deal. And a Gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Three LIVE Tracks From Flor De Toloache
Friday, Apr 17, 2015

Fantastic live tracks from the amazing women of Flor de Toloache.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: April 17, 2015
Friday, Apr 17, 2015

Interactions on Facebook, campaign time begins and a truck full of bees.

More »
2 Comments
 
Parents Speak Out On Autism Care ‘Cliff’
Thursday, Apr 16, 2015

Stories of autism care for adults from our callers and, maybe, from you, too.

More »
4 Comments