How Do You Spell Moammar Gadhafi? Kadafi? Qadafi? Gaddafi?
With Libya In the News, It's About Time We Decide How To Spell Moammar Gadhafi's Name? Is It Kadafi? Qadafi? Gadhafi?
One thing that we can all agree is that Moammar Gadhafi of Libya is pretty much nuts. One thing we can't seem to agree on is how to spell his name.
As unrest in Libya continues to dominate headlines, media outlets seem to have an endless number of ways to spell Muhammar Kaddafi's name. First off, you have his last name, which can start with a 'K', 'Q', or 'G'. Then you have his first name, which is often spelled Moammar and Muhammar along with other variations.
How Many Ways Can You Spell Gadhafi?
According to an ABC story, the Library of Congress has listed 72 alternate spellings of Gadhaffi, while other major news outlets have used an addition 40 spellings between 1998 and 2008.
Why Are There So Many Ways To Spell Gadhafi, Kaddafi, Qadafi?
There are a couple of different reasons. The main one is that there is no accepted way to romanize Arabic names. Kadaffi's name is particularly troubling because it contains several sounds that have no equivalent in English. So some sounds are translated to a 'g', 'h' 'k' or just about every other letter of the alphabet.
How Should We Spell Gadhafi?
Well, there's no real right answer. However, the Straight Dope provides some sound advice. It notes that it is a general rule of thumb that if there is doubt over how to spell a person's name, you simply use the version that the person in question uses. In this case, it's a bit tricky since Khadafi spells his name in Arabic.
However, the Straight Dope points out a strange incident that sheds some light on this issue. Back in May, 1986, Kadafi wrote a letter to a class of second-graders in St. Paul, Minnesota. Underneath his Arabic signature was typed "Moammar El-Gadhafi."
So I guess if you had to spell his name, Moammar El-Gadhafi might be the way to go.