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We have a pretty good policy here at Mi Yodeya where people are free to use their preferred method of transliteration as long as it's consistent with a particular nusach.

But the transliterated phrases Sfardi and Sfardim have become a point of contention in certain circles. Not only are there issues of people not understanding the difference between Sefard and Sefardi, but a lot of Sefaradim don't appreciate being called Sefardim.

The first point of contention is that Sefardi is just bad Hebrew, the Hebrew word is S'faradi/S'faradim with an extra a vowel after the r.

The second point of contention is that Sefaradim are more and more not appreciating being named by the Ashkenazi community with a bastardized Hebrew when Ashkenazim don't seem to have an issue pronouncing all the vowels for the word Ashkenazi. (Source: personal observation after being checked and corrected by a few proud Sepharadim, especially in Israel.) I myself was not very particular about this in the past but have been corrected repeatedly in recent times and have met people who want to start calling Ashkenazim "Ashkem" or "Ashkenzim" in response.

So I'm raising the question that if a typically accepted form of transliteration is becoming a point of contention, or possibly even insulting to a major Jewish group, whether such a transliteration should be corrected/standardized. Add onto it when the transliteration in question is grammatically incorrect by all actual traditions (unless you can show me a tradition that states it's proper to drop vowels)

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    (Responding to something that's not your main point.) "We have a… policy… where people are free to use their preferred method of transliteration as long as it's consistent with a particular nusach." I've never understood that to be the policy. I thought it was something more like "…as long as it's reasonably understandable by the Hebrew-literate segment of the site audience and reasonably internally consistent". – msh210 Feb 14 '18 at 0:45
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    How would we verify or measure if a possible problem is significant enough to warrant action? We can't have anyone be able to come say they find something offensive and change every instance on the site. I'm not saying your case is that, just we have to be careful about catering to individual whims. – Double AA Feb 14 '18 at 0:57
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    Notably, Wikipedia uses "Sefardim" enwp.org/Sefardim and they can reasonably be seen as a NPOV standard or at least evidence of what is commonly considered acceptable – Double AA Feb 14 '18 at 0:58
  • I had no idea there was contention in this matter. I've always used the terms I learned without thinking much about it. Consciousness-raising like this is a good first step. – Monica Cellio Feb 14 '18 at 3:09
  • @DoubleAA Yeah but it immediately follows it up with saying: "Hebrew: סְפָרַדִּים‬, Modern Hebrew: Sfaraddim" – Aaron Feb 14 '18 at 4:26
  • @aaron that's fine. Modern English spellings for adopted words don't usually perfectly reflect the origin pronunciation. Consider 'fazool' (a word I learned today!) – Double AA Feb 14 '18 at 4:28
  • @DoubleAA That's true. But it's one thing when we are speaking English, and hence use the words Sephardic, but when people try to use the word Sephardi as if it's Hebrew, there becomes a problem. Especially if it bothers the people thus named. – Aaron Feb 14 '18 at 4:30
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    Re "it's one thing when we are speaking English, and hence use the words Sephardic, but when people try to use the word Sephardi as if it's Hebrew, there becomes a problem" (from your comment): How would you propose to differentiate these? I mean, some users italicize all their transliterations and leave English unitalicized, so you can tell, but many users don't. – msh210 Feb 14 '18 at 7:49

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