Sunday, February 12, 2006

Abu Zaby, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy Calling

Ever been on an American website where you're maybe trying to order something online and when you tell them you're in the UAE you get all these bizarre spellings for the different Emirates? Well, now I know where they come from. FIPS 10-4 is the culprit. It's the US Federal Information Processing Standard. Version 10-4. It lists all geopolitical entities in da world, and gives them a little code.

Unfortunately nobody seems to have told them that the English transliteration of the names of the Emirates have not been spelled the way they think since, like, forever. Remarkably, for an online publication, there doesn't seem to be any way to contact them to get it fixed. And in fact the real FIPS website doesn't even have the full list.

But you can see it here.


Blogger samuraisam said...

Yeah, but Dubai isn't pronounced Doo-Buy in Arabic, iirc it is pronounced Doo-Bay, and Abu Dhabi i've always heard locals pronounce it as Abu "Thubi", I'm not good with the D pronunciation, there are like 5 different D sounds or something, and I always got lectures from my Arabic teacher about pronouncing them correctly /:
Though I believe the more common spelling should be used.

8:40 pm  
Blogger samuraisam said...

oh ya;
Google search: Dubai = 29,400,000 results
Google search: Dubayy = 50,300 results

PS: most maps (historical, not touristy) feature the spelling Dubayy and not Dubai

8:41 pm  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Doesn't make them right though does it? I only came across this FIPS thing because an American company were trying to sell me an IPlocator thingie. I asked them why they had these archaic spellings for the Emirates and they said they'd got them from FIPS 10-4. As long as a supposedly authoritative source like that is dishing out outdated info then other folks will use it.

If you look at almost any government document published in the UAE, the English spelling is consistently Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai, etc.

9:02 pm  
Anonymous Oscar said...

But the road signs in Arabic call it A Shariqah.. Where did sharjah come from?

2:05 am  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Note that the cities are spelled as we've come to expect, but the "provinces" are not. See,
Site Meter - Counter and Statistics Tracker
I blame Al Gore.

7:01 am  
Blogger moryarti said...

From an Arabic sonic (or stereophonic) perspective, FIPS' pronunciation is the correct one.

The extensive commercial use of 'Dubai' and 'Sharjah' doesn't necessarily mean they are the correct ones, it just makes 'em the most commonly used.

Can't explain it more than this .. have to have an Arab tongue to know exactly what i mean

:) :) :)

9:44 am  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Mory: yeah, I can hear it. All I'm saying is that we have two versions of the English spelling and it's confusing to people outside (and some inside) the Emirates!

9:52 am  

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