Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pronouncing الفجيرة‎ ‘Fujairah’, ‘Fujeirah’ or is it ‘Fujayrah’?

Fujairah in the Dictionary
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is expanding its entries and it now has a listing for ‘Al Fujayrah’ with the variant ‘Fujairah’.

Fujeirah, Fujairah and Fujayrah
It is common to see articles and signs around the city using these different spellings and also the common ‘Fujeirah’. Modern Arabic isn’t usually written with vowels so native Arabic writers will not worry about English words being spelt in different ways. In Fujairah most places where you can get a haircut are called a ‘hair saloon’.

Consider how many ways the prophet’s name is written: Mohammed, Muhammad, Muhammed, Mohamed…

Fujairah Fonetically
The online dictionary also gives these Fujairah words in phonetics:
äl-fu̇-ˈjī-rə\ and \-ˈjī-rə\ .
Here the second syllable is pronounced with a long ‘i’ as in the greeting ‘Hi’.

Fujayrah Pronounced
Just to be sure, the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary offers two audio files so we can hear the pronunciation.

But who knows whether the Merriam-Webster Dictionary has got it right?

Wikipedia, the fount of online truth, spells the city and emirate as ‘Fujairah’ as well as listing the Arabic: الفجيرة‎ and offering it in anglicized Arabic: al-fuǧayrah.

This last expression seems to suggest that the second syllable is pronounced ‘a’ as with the bird ‘jay’.

The Last Word
What is the correct spelling in English and how is the word pronounced?

Does it matter? My Mum in New Zealand uses at least four variations of the word ‘Fujairah’ in the one telephone call but most commonly she calls the place where I live ‘Fallujah’! Or should that be ‘Fellujah’?

Geoff Pound

Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: Note the way the spellchecker on Microsoft Word has an opinion on how the UAE city and emirate should be spelt.

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