Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Moslem V Muslim

I am not talking about Sunni V Sh'ite people from the Middle East. I am caught up in a curiosity. How is the word moslem spelt. While I have heard Bush pronounce it muslim as in the pudding cloth wrap, I never realiased that there are two spellings.

I puzzled Rosanna by spelling it moslem and Jo seems to go for muslim. Rob reckons both are ok. The first thing that occurred to me was that it was the usual English/US difference, but no.

Wikipedia tells me it was moslem until the late eighties but due to mispronunciation by westerners, muslims prefer the muslim spelling.

Back in the sixties, English writers used to refer to muslim people as mohammedans.

I have checked a few online newspapers and Australia's Fairfax press seem to go solely for muslim. UK Independant likes muslim too. UK Sun likes moslem. New York Times has a bet each way seemingly, half moslem and half muslim.

But the curious thing is why did I not know that there were two different spellings? I just thought is was moslem and I had never noticed the more often used muslim. I am too old to change now, for me it will be moslem.


  1. just say 'islamic'

  2. Other Anglicised spelling has changed too. For instance, immigrating Chinese people who might have once spelt their name Chow in English are now using variants (that are often harder for Westerners to spell, but arguably closer to the original) such as Xaio.

    I suppose it's all part of how our language and others are changing over time.

  3. Anonymous11:30 am

    Kiki, you make me laugh.

    I have always always spelt it muslin. I didn't even know moslem was spelling.

  4. Nice lateral thinking Kiki.

    Yes Daniel and it is a good thing that they spell their names correctly, but as you say, it does make it harder for us English speaker. Ta for the gig on your blog btw.

    That is because you are young Rosanna. Stop reminding me pls.

  5. i always say muslim too. but, alas, i'm of a very similar age to Rosanna

  6. Anonymous10:17 pm

    Muslin. Just laughing at my terrible typo.

    I am sorry Andrew - I don't mean to drum it into your head.

    Dad works for fairfax... could be why. Not sure. An interesting debate though. I will ask at work and consult my oracle.

  7. ok... you stick to moslem, I'll stick to muslim.