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This is how you correctly pronounce Daesh

Linah Alsaafin records the correct pronunciation of the Islamic State's Arabic acronym, Daesh
An image grab taken from a propaganda video released on 17 March 2014 by the Islamic State allegedly shows IS fighters their trademark flag as they stand on an armoured vehicle in the Anbar province (AFP)

As Britain joins the US-led coalition against the Islamic State militant group in Syria, much has been made of the pronunciation of the group's Arabic acronym Daesh, which was the term used by British MPs throughout the 10 and a half hour debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The letters come from IS's Arabic name, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa ash-Sham – meaning the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or Syria).

However, the word "Daesh" was heavily mispronounced by the MPs throughout the debate, in which the Commons voted decisively by 397 to 223 in favour of military action.

Variations included "Dash" and "Die-esh", with the guttaral Arabic letter 'ain (pronounced as 'a in the second syllable of the word) overlooked.

Prime Minister David Cameron favoured calling IS by its Arabic acronym on the basis that the group reportedly considers it derogatory. 

As MEE columnist Rachel Shabi wrote, "it might seem like a silly obsession with Arabic pronunciations, but it speaks to something bigger - and more telling."

"Does it matter?" she asked. "Only in so far as it speaks volumes about how little time our MPs seem to have taken to get to know the language, much less the people or the politics of the place they want to start bombing."

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