More Than One Way To Pronounce Qatar

When FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, it set off debates about infrastructure, press freedom, bid rigging ... and pronunciation. How do you say "Qatar" anyway?

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

GUY RAZ, host:

Yesterday, Russia and Qatar were picked to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, respectively. Americans can agree on how to pronounce one of those names, but as NPR's Mike Pesca reports, the name of the small peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf has been giving some of us trouble

Mr. SEPP BLATTER (President, FIFA): The winner to organize the 2022 FIFA World Cup is Qatar.

(Soundbite of cheering)

MIKE PESCA: So that settles it. Take Sepp Blatter's word, the winner is Qatar. Qatar will get the World Cup. Oh, wonderful. Maybe the Swiss-born head of FIFA isn't the best guide to pronunciation. But who is? Different news organizations pronounce the name differently. Even the same news organization like this one has been less than consistent.

ROBERT SIEGEL: The Persian Gulf nation of Qatar.

Unidentified Woman #1: Qatar.

Unidentified Man #1: In Qatar.

Unidentified Woman #2: Qatar.

Unidentified Man #2: Qatar.

Unidentified Man #3: In Qatar yesterday.

(Soundbite of TV show "Welcome Back, Kotter")

Mr. RON PALILLO (Actor): (as Arnold Horshack) It's hot in there, Mr. Kotter.

PESCA: Even experts with more field experience than Horshack can't agree. Merriam-Webster online says...

Unidentified Woman #3: Qatar.

PESCA: While the American Heritage Dictionary says...

Unidentified Woman #4: Qatar.

PESCA: And let's not even get into the British English dictionaries.

Unidentified Man #4: Qatar or Qatar.

PESCA: For the record, the NPR person who came closest to the most authentic pronunciation was Neal Conan, who has spent some time in the Middle East.

NEAL CONAN: Qatar.

PESCA: But officially they want me to say it's sort of like guitar. We called the embassy, they said, Qatar is fine, everyone pronounces it that way anyway. Well, maybe not everyone.

Mike Pesca, NPR News.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: