Try Proofreading ‘Hanukkah’

By John Prince

There are no fewer than 16 different ways to spell ‘Hanukkah’. ‘Hanukkah’ is the choice of the Library of Congress. That spelling gets the most hits on Google. JewishWeek agrees with Time that ‘Hanukkah’ is the best option. The Oxford English Dictionary lists 24 different spellings.

The problem is one of transliteration—the process of transferring the sound of a word from one language to another. The difficulty is compounded when there are sounds in one language that are not in the other; like Hebrew and English.

Beverly Ann Meyers, who wrote the Hanukkah article in this issue of Gazette says that she’s familiar with both Hanukkah and Chanukah, “Because the first letter’s sound is a hard “h”, much like the German “ch”, people may use “Ch” to preserve the hard “h” sound.”

We say follow the recommendation of the Chicago Manual of Style: Above all, be consistent.

So, pick one. Add “Happy” and enjoy the season!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content