posted on Jun, 13 2006 @ 09:52 AM
This really is a problem of transliteration. You can't do a letter-to-letter translation of words in languages that use different alphabets, because
it's pretty common for the letters in one language to signify a sound that's not phonemically distinct in another. Probably the easiest example of
this for most Americans to recognize is the often-mentioned difficulty for native Japanese speakers to keep the /L/ and /R/ sounds in their proper
place in English words. That's because, in japanese, those two sounds aren't phonemically significant, they don't change the meaning of a word.
Which one is used, in Japanese, depends largely where in the word it falls.
Similarly, English lacks a distinction between the Arabic letters ق (qaf) and ك (kaf). The former is pronounced as an unvoiced glottal plosive
(make a /K/ noise, but in the very back of your throat), while the latter is pronounced just like an English /K/.
Different people think that different combinations of letters more accurately represent the sounds, and adjust their spelling accordingly. That's
why we end up with a hundred different variations of each name. One scholar thinks it's one way, another has his own variation, and the person in
question likely has their own opinion that may not line up with either.