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Thursday, December 11, 2003

The transliteral Q

Why is Iraq spelled with a q? Is it meant to represent a sound different from c, k, or ck? Whose idea was q?

I don't know much about Chinese, so excuse me if I'm totally wrong, but doesn't q transliterate a Chinese sound that approximates our ch? And whose idea was that?

Isn't the whole point of transliterating to convey to us Roman literalists some idea of how to pronounce words written with non-Roman characters? How do you convey that with letters given pronunciations totally different from their customary ones. Might as well just write in the original language.
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