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Translating words into English from a language which uses a different alphabet is a difficult prospect. You take a word which may be a very basic word, but since English may not have the same letters or phonemes as the original language, the new spelling is really a best-guess approximation.

This has always been an issue for me. Growing up Jewish in a predominately Christian nation was difficult at times, and most Americans don't speak or even read Hebrew, believe it or not! So words get translated, or transliterated, into English in such a fashion that they're pronounced correctly. Since English allows for many different words which are pronounced the same way, there are many different "correct" spellings of transliterated words. This is why you see several different spellings of Hanukah every winter; I would give the correct one here, but I don't know how to display Hebrew in html.

The result of all this, however, is that words from ancient or non-English alphabets often get spelled according to a whim. There are academic standards used in transliteration, but multiple standards exist, and their use varies by locale or group membership. In addition, non-academics usually are unfamiliar with these standards and must make up their own. Therefore, if someone doesn't spell one of these words the same way you did, they may still be justified.

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