Obama may be president, but millions still misspell his name

January 20, 2009

PHOENIXBarack Obama may be the 44th President of the United States, but millions of people are still unable to spell his first name correctly, according to a website that lets readers find gaffes in blogs and other online text.


Internet firm gooseGrade.com estimates that there are at least 60 million pages on the Internet containing a misspelling of Barack Obama’s first name.


“Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bloggers and other online authors who misspell Barack Obama’s name in their writing will miss out on the tidal wave of online search traffic being generated this week around Obama’s inauguration,” said the firm’s CEO, John Brooks Pounders. “Not to mention, it’s a bit embarrassing.”


Obama, who was sworn into office on Tuesday, is the son of a Kenyan father and an American mother. He was named after his father and his first name means “blessed” according to the Web site babynames.com.


The most common snafu among bloggers and online authors, according to gooseGrade.com,  is “Barak”, followed closely by “Barrak”, and finally “Barrack”. 


Part of the confusion may stem from the fact that the Israeli Defense Minister and former prime minister spells his name “Barak” in English; the word is Hebrew for “lightning.”

In the biblical Book of Judges, Barak is an Israelite military leader who wins a great victory over the Canaanites.

Computer spellcheckers are often little help. Many software applications from the pre-Obama era correct Barack to “Barrack,” and render Obama as “Omaha” — the more familiar name of the largest city in the U.S. state of Nebraska.

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