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    Britain, We Need To Talk About How You're Pronouncing Hajj Wrong

    The nation's broadcasters keep pronouncing "hajj" with a long "a". The problem is that that's an entirely different word in Arabic.

    Dear broadcasters, I have something important to say: You keep pronouncing "hajj" wrong and you need to stop.

    For some reason, broadcasters keep pronouncing it like this: "haaj". Here's the BBC:

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    Sky is guilty too:

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    Channel 4 News also pronounced it "Haaj" throughout its package on a stampede in Saudi Arabia yesterday that left more than 700 pilgrims dead.

    Ironically, the BBC actually had someone on the show who pronounced it correctly. Considering he works for something called the Council of British Hajjis, you'd think someone might ask why he's saying it differently.

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    Here's why it's such an issue: Politicians and journalists often pronounce new words by copying broadcasters, under the assumption that they've consulted someone.

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    So then you get important politicians using the same pronunciation that they hear over and over again on Radio 4's Today programme. That's Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, pronouncing "hajj" wrong in the video above.

    Even the Arabic for both the words is different. When broadcasters say "haaj pilgrimage", they're really saying "pilgrim pilgrimage", which we can agree makes no sense.

    Muslims in Britain – and around the world – don't expect people to know how to pronounce Arabic words. Those of us with Arabic names almost never expect anyone to be able to get it right first time.

    But it's OK to ask. Media organisations like the BBC have staff who work on compiling a pronunciation guide. If they're unhelpful, staff working at an organisation can also be asked how to pronounce something.

    So here you go: The "a" in Hajj is pronounced like the "u" in duck. Like so:

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