As Libyans assert their right to self-govern, many at the cost of their lives, hundreds of articles and blog posts appear daily, keeping the world informed as the fight for freedom in the Middle East unfolds. I try to get the spelling of a person’s name, even a despicable dictator like Gaddafi, right. But with all the spellings that appear, its hard to figure out which one is the right spelling. I’m not alone in my quest. I came across an article by Mother Jones looking for the same answer, noting that the various spellings of Gaddafi is a result of a variety of Arabic pronunciations.
Because of the lack of standardization of transliterating written- and regionally-pronounced Arabic, Gaddafi’s name has been transliterated in many different ways into English and other Latin alphabet languages. Even though the Arabic spelling of a word does not change, the pronunciation may vary in different varieties of Arabic, which may cause a different romanization.
An article published in the London Evening Standard in 2004 lists a total of 37 spellings of his name, while a 1986 column by The Straight Dope quotes a list of 32 spellings known at the Library of Congress.
My search on the Internet came up short as to the main source, Gaddafi, on the correct way to spell and prounounce his name. Maybe he’s just as confused as everybody else. While we all wish Gaddafi would stop killing his people and just leave, I’m looking for the best spelling to use. So, help me out here. How would you spell Gaddafi’s name?