November 28, 2018

Since you asked: How do you pronounce the name Khashoggi?

جمال أحمد خاشقجي

The murder of U.S.-based political columnist Jamal Khashoggi continues to dominate the news cycle. We have all heard reporters, analysts, and pundits providing their comments using a variety of pronunciations of the name Khashoggi.

I was recently asked, “Rick, you speak Arabic. So, how do you correctly pronounce the name Khashoggi? I hear it different ways on different networks.”

Actually there are several “correct” pronunciations. It depends on which language you are talking about. The name Khashoggi is originally Turkish: Kaşıkçı, pronounced kha-SHIQ-jeh, and meaning “spoon maker.” (Listen to an audio file here.)

The Khashoggi family became prominent in Saudi Arabia in the early 20th Century.

So, what in Turkish is Cemal Ahmed Kaşıkçı becomes in Arabic جمال أحمد خاشقجي‎, or Jamal Ahmad Khashuqji, pronounced kha-SHUQ-jee. (Listen to an audio file here.)

For practical purposes, I suggest we all use the commonly accepted Western pronunciation of Jamal Khashoggi, kha-SHOW-gee.

For the trivia buffs:

- Jamal’s uncle was high-profile Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi (‘Adnan Khashuqji), known for his part in the Iran–Contra scandal, and was one of the richest men in the world at the time.

- Jamal was also a first cousin of Dodi Fayed (Dudi al-Fayid), who was dating Diana, Princess of Wales, when the two were killed in a car crash in Paris.

- Jamal’s grandfather, Muhammad Khashoggi (Muhammad Khashuqji), was the personal physician to King ‘Abd al-’Aziz Al Sa’ud, founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.