Friday, December 26, 2003

Language Idiocy
Did you know that the different transliterations of Arabic generally come from different regions of the Arabic-speaking world? Although that doesn't explain to me why Congress spells it Usama bin-Ladin while the President spells it Osama bin-Laden, it does help explain why I've seen the name of Moammar Qaddafi spelled in a half dozen different ways, at least. (Kha, Gha, Qa)(d, dd)(f?)(fi, fy). Did you know that the FBI claims this is part of the problem in fighting terrorism? Makes sense to me that if I had choices on spellings, I might mix it up a bit to stey below the radar. But the real solution is to support Arabic script in records in America. Sign the guest register in English and in your native tongue, please. This would help with every non-Romance (non-ASCII) language. Since there aren't hundreds of Arabic language students in high schools in America, the FBI is basically effed. Whose looking out for you, babe?

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