Monday, September 18, 2017

Ever Wondered Why "Koran" Became "Qu'ran"?

I know I have. Now, thanks to John Steele Gordon, all is revealed:
Koran...has been in the English language since 1725. Suddenly it began appearing as Quran, which is a transliteration of the Arabic, and even Qu’ran. What appears to English speakers as a meaningless apostrophe is actually a breath mark carried over from Arabic, which, like Hebrew, does not write out the vowels. In English we do, and so we don’t need breath marks. 
What is wrong with Koran? Exactly nothing. The idea that we should use the transliterated Arabic word instead of our own word is pure political correctness deriving from the classic linguistic fallacy of conflating the word and the thing denoted by the word. The Koran is the holy book of Islam. Koran is a word in the English language. 
This line of thinking gives Arabic speakers, not English speakers, control over many English words. Does that mean we have to use Arabic transliterations for such English words as sofaadmiral, and zero, which derive from Arabic? I’m pretty sure Arabic speakers would laugh at the opposite idea, that we English speakers get to determine how English-derived words in that language should be spelled in Arabic...

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