The “As a Linguist” blog has a new post, Wait, who just died?, on the problematic pronunciation and spelling of Colonel Gaddafi’s name.
I’ve been “translating” his name (from the Italian version, Gheddafi) just about every day since the Libyan uprising began (I work with another translator on the English version of the Italian Foreign Ministry’s website). So when the rebellion broke out we had to decide quickly on which version to use.
We opted to follow the European Commission’s lead, Italy being a European Union country, and use Gaddafi.
From a quick search, NATO and the British Foreign Office seem to prefer Qadhafi, with some instances of Gaddafi. The BBC and the Guardian, Times and Telegraph newspapers mainly use Gaddafi. What about the rest of the English-language media?
Confession: although I write the country’s name day in, day out, I still have to stop and think if it’s Libya or Lybia (I’ve had to add it to my auto-correct list in Word).
By Marian Dougan