The Dartmouth Observer

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Friday, April 30, 2004
 
Bernard Lewis, interviewed

The Atlantic has an interview with Bernard Lewis, who always comes across as intelligent, erudite, and thought-provoking. Here's some advice he has for the Americans currently in Iraq:

I think the first thing is better linguistic training. For example, when I listen to the broadcasts from the media people who are in Iraq at the present time, they almost always mispronounce the names of Iraqi towns. One town which has been very much in the news is spelled in Latin letters N-a-j-a-f, and I hear one announcer or newsreader after another, even those who are calling from over there, say Na-jaf' (emphasis on the second syllable). Well it isn't Na-jaf', it's Na'jaf (emphasis on the first syllable). Anyone who's ever heard an Iraqi pronounce the name will know that. The fact that this sort of name is systematically mispronounced is really alarming. One wonders who they've been talking to.
Read the whole thing.