Research Article

English Spelling of Arabic Compound Personal Names by Educated Arabs on Facebook



This study examines a sample of Arabic compound personal name spelling errors in English on Facebook as produced by educated Arabs such as students, faculty, schoolteachers, and other professionals. It also examines the kinds of variant spellings and their sources, and the spelling strategies used. A sample of 452 compound names was selected from Facebook consisting of the prefixes عبد Abd, أبو Abu, and the suffix الدين -ddine. The subjects have different proficiency levels in English. The English spelling data analysis revealed that 68.1% of the compound names begin with Add, Abel, Abdal and Abdul; 27.6% begin with Abo, Abu, Abou, Apo; and 4.2% end with -ddine, -dine, -din. In compound name containing Abd, the prefix has 3 attached forms, 3 detached forms and 1 hyphenated form. In 5 variants, Abd is attached to the definite article -al whether the compound structure is Abd + -al+ Noun or just Abd +-al. In 27% a capitalized noun follows Abd, Abdel, Abdal, Abdel and Abdul. The second prefix Abo was used in 54 compounds in this category; Abu in 50 compounds; Abou in 17; Apo in 2; Abul in 1; and Aboul in 1 compound. Only two compounds out of 125 contain this prefix attached -al (Abul & Aboul). In 74%, the subjects capitalized the second constituent that follows Abu, Abo, Abou, Aboul, Abul, and Apo. The suffix الدين occurred in 19 unique names. It has three variants (-ddine, -din, -dine) and 38 occurrences. The form with the highest occurrence is -din. In 10 compounds, the suffix and the first constituent are spelled as one word. In 15 compounds the definite article in الدين is capitalized. In 8 compounds the initial letter in دين is doubled as it is a sun letter that is assimilated with -al. The variant and deviant English spellings of compound names in this study can be attributed to lack of competence in grapheme-phoneme correspondence, ignorance of the English spelling rules, and transfer of the Arabic spelling system to English. The study gives recommendations for improving the subjects’ spelling skills in English.

Article information


Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Studies

Volume (Issue)

5 (1)





How to Cite

Al-Jarf, R. (2023). English Spelling of Arabic Compound Personal Names by Educated Arabs on Facebook. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Studies, 5(1), 53–64.



Compound personal names, Arabic names, English spelling of Arabic names, Facebook, compound names with Abd, compound names with Abu, compound names with Eddine.