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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years
(1969)

A note on transliteration and nomenclature,   pp. xxv-xxix ff. PDF (1.2 MB)


Page xxvi

xxvi A NOTE ON TRANSLITERATION AND NOMENCLATURE 
English-speaking scholars was restudied and found entirely satis factory,
with the slight modifications noted. The chief alternative system, in which
every Arabic consonant is represented by a single Latin character (t for
th, for kh, d for dh, for sh, for gh) was rejected for several reasons: needless
proliferation of diacriti cal marks to bother the eye and multiply occasions
for error, ab sence of strong countervailing arguments, and, most decisively,
the natural tendency of non-specialists to adopt these spellings but omit
the diacritical marks. The use of single letters in this manner leads to
undesirable results, but the spellings adopted for the present work may be
thus treated with confidence by any writer not requiring the discriminations
which the remaining diacritical marks indicate. 
 The letters used for Arabic consonants, in the order of the Arabic alphabet,
are these: ' , b, t, th, j, h, kh, d, dh, r, z, s, sh, s, d, t, z, ', gh,
f, q, k, 1, m, n, h, w, y. The vowels are a, i, u, lengthened as a, i, ü,
with the ali/ bi-surati-l-ya' distinguished as a; initial' is omitted, but
terminal macrons are retained. Diphthongs are au and ai, not aw and ay, as
being both philologically preferable and visually less misleading. The same
considerations lead to the omission of l of al- before a duplicated consonant
(Nür-ad-Din rather than NUr-al-Din). As in this example, hyphens are
used to link words composing a single name (as also ' Abd-Allah), with weak
initial vowels elided (as abu-l-Uasan). Normally al- (meaning "the") is not
capitalized; abü- is not capitalized when it means "father of", but
is in the name Abfl-Bakr and the place Abu-Qubais; ibn- is not when it means
literally "son of", but is otherwise (as Ibn Khaldün, Usãmah
Ibn-Munqidh). 
 Some readers may be disconcerted to find the prophet called "Mohammed" and
his followers "Moslems", but this can readily be justified. These spellings
are valid English proper names, derived from Arabic originals which would
be correctly trans literated "Muhammad" and "Muslimün" or "Muslimin".
The best criterion for deciding whether to use the Anglicized spellings or
the accurate transliterations is the treatment accorded the third of this
cluster of names, that of the religion "Islam". Where this is transliterated
"Islam", with a macron over the a, it should be accompanied by "Muslim" and
"Muhammad", but where the macron is omitted consistency and common sense
require "Mos lem" and "Mohammed", and it is the latter triad which have been
considered appropriate in this work. All namesakes of the prophet, however,
have had their names duly transliterated 


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