How'd you spell that again?
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 96 16:27:06 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: How'd you spell that again?
Forwarded-by: "R. Dunbar Poor" <email@example.com>
Forwarded-by: John Underkoffler <jh>
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sean Gugler)
<forwards exoned in the translation>
Tehran (Reuter) - For the past few weeks, the behind the doors discussion
at many Iranian newspaper and magazine publishing outfits seems to be
revolving not around political, social and economic issues, but the spelling
of Bob Dole's name instead. It turns out that the proper spelling of the
Republican Party's likely nominee, Dole, is exactly the same as that of the
word penis in Persian. ``At first it might seem funny to some people, but
it's creating a serious issue for us. How can we write headlines using that
word?,'' said Majid Fanni, a prepress specialist at a Tehran service bureau.
Professor Hassan Khadem, a Persian literature lecturer at New York
University added ``It's actually not a real problem. In Persian, certain
vowels are optional. [Therefore] they could write his name a couple of
different ways to avoid the ambiguity. But for an exact pronunciation,
'Dowl' as opposed to 'Dol', well, they'd have to spell it that way.'' Fanni
explained ``It's not easy. In print, especially for headlines, we don't
use [optional] vowel symbols. Because of that, his name can be read in that
International organizations are quite familiar and cognizant of these types
of issues. General Motors for example, spends over 300,000 dollars a year
just researching car names to make sure they are not trade marked, as well
as being acceptable in foreign countries.
Ali Zarkoob, a grade school teacher in Western Tehran said ``I'm sure kids
will find it very funny. The humor magazines will probably go crazy over
it too.'' A columnist for Tehran's Hamshahri daily who requested to remain
anonymous stated ``It's a real problem that no one wants to face. Think
about it. What should we write if he wins? 'Clinton loses Presidency'?
That's not right. 'Penis wins US Presidency' isn't exactly acceptable
[``Putz wins US Presidency'' works for me.
I'll have to update my exonerator, obviously. --- dm]
© 1996 Peter Langston