When I was first handed my roster in Saudi Arabia, I was a little intimidated by the names that had the uniquely Arabic phonemes. For example, the "gh" sound might be transliterated a "gh," but it's actually a glottal sound that has absolutely no equal in the English language. Thus, saying names with the "gh" sound elicits snickers from my student.
After practicing the pronunciation of my students names and getting as close to correct as I could, I found out that just about all Arabic names have a meaning behind them. Like a real meaning, not a sentimental meaning. I love that fact and it makes my students even more beautiful. I get a mental picture each time I call out a name in class.
I've created a word cloud of my students' first names. You'll see a few familiar ones on there, but they are not pronounced the way you think. Arabs roll their Rs, so "Rhonda" sounds much more beautiful over here than at home. If there is an A in a name, it's pronounced "ah" not "ay." So "Nadeen" is so much more sophisticated sounding, in my humble opinion.
Anyway, here's the word cloud. Enjoy.
p.s. I create my word clouds using wordle. I ::heart:: wordle
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