Which is it? Moammar Gadhafi, Qaddafi, or Khadafy?

There are several English spellings of this infamous last name. The AP bases its version on pronunciation and the late leader’s signature.

Or should it be Qaddafi? Gadhdhafi? Khadafy?

In a recent article, Lee Keath explains how the Associated Press decided to spell the late Libyan leader’s name as Gadhafi. Its reasoning is largely based on the name’s pronunciation and the way Gadhafi himself signed it in a string of letters he sent to American schoolchildren about 25 years ago.

A lot of the sounds in Gadhafi do not exist in English, making it difficult to match them to English letters. Here is how the AP translated the name, one Arabic letter at a time:

“Qaf”: This letter does not exist in English. English speakers usually translate this sound with a Q—as in Quran and Iraq—but the pronunciation varies among Arabic dialects. The Libyans pronounce it as a G, so the AP chose this sound to begin Gadhafi’s name.

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