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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

A note on transliteration and nomenclature,   pp. xvii-xx PDF (453.9 KB)

Page xviii

multiply occasions for error, absence of strong countervailing argu ments,
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, s, d, t, z, z.
' ,gh, f, q, k, l, m, n, h, w, y. The vowels are a, i, u, lengthened as a,
i, u, with the alif bi-surati-l-yã' 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
mislead ing. The same considerations lead to the omission of l of al- before
a duplicated consonant (Nur-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-Hasan). Normally al- (meaning "the")
is not capitalized; ibn- is not when it means literally "son of," but is
otherwise (as Ibn-Khaldun). 
 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 transliterated "Muham mad" and "MuslimUn" or "Muslimin." The
best criterion for decid ing whether to use the Anglicized spellings or the
accurate translitera tions 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 "Moslem"
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 "Muhammad," to correspond with names of other Arabs who
are not individually so familiar to westerners as to be better recognized
in Anglicized forms. 
 All names of other Arabs, and of non-Arabs with Arabic names, have been
systematically transliterated, with the single exception of 
Salãh-ad-Din, whom it would have been pedantic to call that rather
than Saladin. For places held, in the crusading era or now, by Arabs, the
Arabic names appear either in the text or in the gazetteer, where some additional
ones are also included to broaden the usefulness of this feature. 

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