shalaby or shalabi

Sleepingwolf

New Member
Arabic
Hello everyone,
I hope you're all doing well

I'm not really sure if this is the right place for that question, but my last name is pronounced as sha-la-be but i have it written in two different ways in documents and papers i get from governmental institutions " Shalaby and Shalabi" that's because English is not the first language where i live now, so they kinda do their best, that discrepancy is really frustrating, and in order to fix it, i need to know which one should i use? which one of them matches more with the pronunciation. I can attach a voice file, please let me know if i have to. Thanks
 
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I (BrE) would naturally prounce Shalaby as SHALaby with the accent on the first syllable. This is probably because it looks a lot like 'wallaby' the jumping animal.

    If I saw, for example, Shalabbi, I would probably say ShaLABBi.

    However there is no fixed rule for pronunciation in English. Even traditional English names sometimes get mispronounced.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    There is no standard way to represent names from non-English alphabets in English.

    There are people from China in the U.S. whose English family names are Chew, Chu, Ju, Jew (and perhaps more). In Chinese, they were the same. In earlier times, immigration officers officers decided how to write family names in English, based on how they sounded to the officer when the family members said their names. Today, it's more common for the adults in an immigrant family to decide how to spell it. Each family can decide differently.

    I once asked a colleague at work why some people spell their Irish family name as "Donoghue" while others spell it as "Donahue." He explained that, if the head of the family that immigrated to the U.S. could read and write, he would spell the name to the immigration officer. That usually meant they kept the traditional Irish Gaelic spelling, with the "g." If the head of the family could not spell, he would say the name. The officer would write what it sounded like. That was usually simpler than the original version.

    My family name was not originally written in the Latin alphabet. It has the sound "l" in the middle. In its original language there was one letter that sounds like "l." In English, it is spelled with a double "l" as in "Miller" (not my name), because it's more natural in English that way. My name originally also had a sound that is not used in English. It is represented by two letters that sound, more or less, the same. I have some distant relatives who spell our name differently in English.

    If it is of any help in your specific situation, the family of Jordan's Queen Noor (who is from the U.S.) spelled their name "Halaby." That doesn't make it correct, though. Nobody can say what is correct.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello everyone,
    I hope you're all doing well

    I'm not really sure if this is the right place for that question, but my last name is pronounced as sha-la-be but I have it written in two different ways in documents and papers I get from governmental institutions " Shalaby and Shalabi" that's because English is not the first language where I live now, so they kind of do their best, that discrepancy is really frustrating, and in order to fix it, I need to know which one should I use? which one of them matches more with the pronunciation. I can attach a voice file, please let me know if I have to. Thanks
    (Please note that standard English spelling is a requirement of this forum, e.g. the word 'I' is always capitalized.)

    As an indication of just how unruly English spelling/pronunciation is, I'd do more or less the opposite of what Biffo would.
    If I saw the name Shalabi (especially if I knew it was an Arabic name), I'd pronounce it shuh-LAH-bi.
    If I saw Shalaby (and didn't know it was Arabic), I'd pronounce it shuh-LAY-bi.

    There's no need for you to attach a sound file, Wolf, but it would help if you told us how your name is pronounced.

    I'm doing quite well except that my neighbours are driving me insane.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I think we need to know which syllable is stressed in the way you say it. sha, la or be? (I recall a colleague with this name saying one was correct and the other meant something impolite, but I can't remember which way round it was!!) The input above suggests there may be a way to spell it that encourages the "polite" pronunciation :D
     

    Sleepingwolf

    New Member
    Arabic
    Thank you guys all for devoting your time to help others, I appreciate every single word, and sorry I couldn't be more specific in my first post.


    I (BrE) would naturally prounce Shalaby as SHALaby with the accent on the first syllable. This is probably because it looks a lot like 'wallaby' the jumping animal.

    If I saw, for example, Shalabbi, I would probably say ShaLABBi.

    However there is no fixed rule for pronunciation in English. Even traditional English names sometimes get mispronounced.
    Dude, I think you hit the nail on the head, It's pronounced as SHALaby, with the first syllable stressed, and yes it exactly rhymes with wallaby, it would be much easier if I knew that animal's name earlier, does that make shalaby the correct one?
     

    Sleepingwolf

    New Member
    Arabic
    I think we need to know which syllable is stressed in the way you say it. sha, la or be? (I recall a colleague with this name saying one was correct and the other meant something impolite, but I can't remember which way round it was!!) The input above suggests there may be a way to spell it that encourages the "polite" pronunciation :D
    The stressed syllable is sha
     

    Sleepingwolf

    New Member
    Arabic
    I'd spell your name Shallabi, SW.
    Oh my god ! I'm more confused now :D, I never had it written that way, then why didn't they write wallaby as wallabi?
    I also just found a website that has the pronunciation of Shelby (girl's name) and the last syllable is exactly pronounced as the last syllable of my name 'b' like 'beat' 'ee' like 'read' and they don't write it as shelbi
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    if the head of the family that immigrated to the U.S. could read and write, he would spell the name to the immigration officer. That usually meant they kept the traditional Irish Gaelic spelling, with the "g." If the head of the family could not spell, he would say the name. The officer would write what it sounded like. That was usually simpler than the original version.
    Point of information: US immigration officers are not responsible for all the divergent spellings: the spelling with an h is used in Ireland too. http://ie.linkedin.com/pub/yvonne-donohue/11/723/658

    English spelling is not phonetic, so there is no standard way of transliterating into English.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Dude, I think you hit the nail on the head, It's pronounced as SHALaby, with the first syllable stressed, and yes it exactly rhymes with wallaby, it would be much easier if I knew that animal's name earlier, does that make shalaby the correct one?
    It might look like it rhymes with wallaby, but wallaby is pronouced 'wollaby'. 'woll' like ''doll' or 'moll'.:eek:
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Point of information: US immigration officers are not responsible for all the divergent spellings: the spelling with an h is used in Ireland too. http://ie.linkedin.com/pub/yvonne-donohue/11/723/658

    English spelling is not phonetic, so there is no standard way of transliterating into English.
    Interesting, though her name may have been Anglicized more recently than the large Irish immigration to the U.S. In any case, I was repeating what Tom D. told me, not stating a historical fact. His version may have been a way of showing a bit of family pride - "my great-grandfather could read and write, lots of others couldn't."
     
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