No BuzzFeed, it doesn’t matter that British broadcasters say Hajj wrong

Hajj, December 2008 by Al Jazeera English

Another strong contender for Most Retarded Complaint of the Year emerged on BuzzFeed on Friday as news reporter Siraj Datoo penned an entire piece to complain that broadcasters are not pronouncing Hajj correctly.

The likes of BBC and Sky News tend to elongate the “a” in Hajj (as in Haaj) when in Arabic the word is apparently pronounced with a short sound akin to the “u” in fudge.

This allegedly matters because Haaj and Hajj are “entirely different” words of, er, pilgrim and pilgrimage. As Datoo unconvincingly argues:

“When broadcasters say ‘haaj pilgrimage’, they’re really saying ‘pilgrim pilgrimage’, which we can agree makes no sense.”

Of course “pilgrim pilgrimage”, redundant as it is, makes rather more sense than “pilgrimage pilgrimage”, but it would be remiss to bring logic into the debate at this stage.

Meanwhile in the real world foreign words are routinely imported into English with mistakes and changes in pronunciation as normal people ignore the wonks at the Department for Spurious Complaints and get on with their day. And it’s okay.

Image Credit – Hajj, December 2008 by Al Jazeera English

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