I was worried that I’d completely botched the title to our first game, which refers to a place I learned about in the context of the first Gulf War and located on a military aviation chart, but my friend (and former Arabic student) Eric J. Boyd puts pay to that worry! Eric writes:

“Generally speaking, “al” simply serves as a definite article like “the” in English. In written Arabic, it is directly connected to a word (like “alHiri” or “alTikriti), which is why the hyphen gets used in transliterating to English to show that connection. So I’d usually transliterate the name as Shab al-Hiri. But using an “al” construction ties the two words together in a meaning like Saddam al-Tikriti or “Saddam, the one from Tikrit” so I can totally see the value in using two hyphens to tie everything together. Transliteration is always inexact and opinions differ, so your source using Shab-al-Hiri is just as legitimate. I really wouldn’t sweat it.”

What’s a Hyphen Between Friends?
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