There’s an interesting comment by Antoni to a piece in which he mysteriously comes to the conclusion that an article dealing with an eventual British withdrawal from Iraq is somehow good news for the anti-war mob. In his comment he says that the non-standard Catalan spelling “Irac” (“Irak” is what you’ll normally see) is taken over from Vilaweb, which “defend suppressing the ‘k’ in favour of ‘c’ because … many Valencian toponyms ending in ‘-ac’ and ‘-acs’ are Arab in origin. The ‘k’ would constitute an unnecessary foreign influence.” Grec complicates things further, spelling it “Iraq”, while the Diccionari català-valencià-balear uncontroversially sticks to Babylon and “babilonesos”.

I can’t find phonology-based orthographical rules on the Institut d’Estudis Catalans site. The Real Academia Española does differentiate “k” and “c” thusly, but is sufficiently permissive to allow both endings. (I’ll bet, though, that some guy with a long white beard would come over and beat you with a cudgel if you wrote “Iraq” or “Irack”.) I didn’t find any really interesting examples of usage on the Davies or RAE corpses, but here’s a pretty little serendipity from Esteban Terradas’ Neologismos, arcaísmos y sinónimos en plática de ingenieros (1946):

The names of the winds form a vocabulary apart with which one should not be unacquainted, given that aviation reaches the whole world, and passengers and crew of any country, enjoying natural liberties, have to be able to fly across the skies of any other. Here is a sample of this vocabulary [untranslated]: alisios, céfiro, cierzo, levante, leveche, lectac, pampero, leste, monzón, mistral, tramontana, tornado, föhn (Adriatic), chili (Tunisia), halob (Sudan), harmatan (West Africa), chinok (Canada), kaus (Persian Gulf), khamsin (Egypt), seistan (Persia), simoon (Algeria), sirocco (Arabia), shamal (Irac), reshabar (Kurdistan), etc.

“Overtakitg” and “pankake” are renderings by Terradas of two words which he says entered the lexicon during the war but had as yet found no native equivalent. I must say I find it difficult to imagine Spanish roads before overtaking.

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  1. Trevor, what is truly misterious is to guess why you deliver so much erudite trivia in this post and at the same time fail to quote me properly.

    It is NOT ME who comes to a conclusion, but the blog I quote, Juan Cole. Why do you delude your readers and mock their intelligence is beyond me.

    As for that derogative “mob” after “anti-war”, I’ll ignore it. Nevertheless, it is always better company that be one of those mostly males, mostly sociopathic and frustrated keyboard warriors.

    There are no good news for the anti-war movement, Trevor, and it disappoints me that you don’t see it.

    It if seems like good news is because things are going so bad for the warmongers. They are having the hardest time ever, with the war going so bad after so many months, and they are mad at the “I told you so” attitude.

    At the end of the day it is their problem. The anti-war movement was right. To win is much more than never admiting defeat.

  2. My apologies, Antoni: this particular keyboard worrier just couldn’t find the conclusion of his that you adopt.

    (Juan Cole gets a lot of stick because his anti-Zionism sometimes starts to sound like something a lot more unpleasant, but it is worth pointing out that–unlike morally bankrupt bodies such as Human Rights Watch–he did believe that a war was justifiable on humanitarian grounds. He was just firmly opposed to the way Bush and the rest went about it.)

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