How is “Al Queda” properly pronounced? I hear both “al KAY-da” and “al KI-da”. How would an Arab pronounce it?
The pronunciation is difficult to express in English phonetics. This common spelling is a transliteration of Arabic letters, which have no exact equal in English.
The Q represents a letter in Arabic for which we have no corresponding sound. It’s like a K but it’s pronounced farther back in the throat. The closest we come is the C in calm. The ae is a diphthong that starts out with an “ah” sound (as in father) and smoothly transitions to an “ay” sound (as in pay). This is how my Egyptian in-laws and friends say it.
Try “al kah-AY-da” but the newscasters consistently drop the diphthong and say “KAY-da”, which is close enough.
“al KI-da” is probably a poor reading of the transliteration.