My thinking on how to pronounce Ahmadinejad

There has been much discussion over the proper way to pronounce — and even transliterate — the current Iranian president’s last name. Most news outlets use Ahmadinejad. Others, such as Financial Times, prefer Ahmadi-Nejad. In the Persian alphabet, the president’s name is spelled احمدی‌نژاد (alef-Ha-mim-dal-ye-nun-zhe-alef-dal). It is a combination of Ahmad and Nejad. The (ye) links the two names. It thus makes perfect sense to separate the two, as in Ahmadi-Nejad, or Ahmady Nejad or Ahmad-e Nezhad, or Ahmad-i Nejad. It also makes sense to run them together, as in the more common Ahmadinejad. Pronouncing it is more difficult for English speakers. One should go about this first with Ahmad — the common Arab-Muslim name– emphasizing the H (ﺡ), which should be guttural. Adding the ye (ﻯ), this should become Ahmadé; or Ahmad-i. The add the Nejad. The Persian letter ze (ژ) is a combination of a j and a z. ‌نژاد is perhaps more accurately transliterated as Nezhad. In any event, this is best pronounced Nejad. Running this together with Ahmadé will produce the most accurate pronunciation for the non-Farsi-speaker. AhmadéNejad.


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